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More Than Lip Service

Paying Back, Paying Forward By Larry O Connor
I was driving around Chicago recently and drove through a recovering neighborhood. I noticed two things that gave me confidence that people care and that they want to take back and give back. 

The residents had converted a blighted area of city property into an inviting garden and many of the homes had green lights out front. The "Greenlight a Vet" program encourages actions like thanking veterans, hiring veterans at your place of business or simply using a green light bulb as a show of support for those that served our country.

The green lights are part of what I hope will be a continuing movement nationwide to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by each and every member of our military and to send the message that we respect and appreciate all that they have done.

But green lights are just a start, as we can better honor the sacrifices made for this country by each doing our part to make our communities and our country better, much like that previously blighted property. 

Each of us can also directly support the ongoing struggle to break through the stereotypes we've allowed to be built up about veterans and support those actively deployed with care packages.

That's one of the reasons OWC is a committed partner in GotYour6, a campaign to bridge the civilian-military divide. It's also why we support Operation Support Our Troops - America (OSTA), which provides comfort, resources and education to American military members and their families--both while they are deployed and after their return.

And on the job front, wherever possible, OWC actively prioritizes the hiring of our veterans for jobs because hiring veterans is about more than honoring their service.  It takes advantage of the professionalism and experience they have gained. 

We've found that in addition to being mature and responsible, they are accustomed to:
- Working in a team environment
- Establishing priorities, multi-tasking and meeting deadlines
- Dealing with pressure and stress
- Seeking assistance and advice when necessary

That's the kind of person I, and most executives, want on their team because we all need the most effective workforce possible in today's competitive marketplace.

So how can you help?

If you're a hiring manager or in HR, make sure to extend a vet the opportunity to interview for a position they qualify for.  You might not immediately see how the skills they honed in the military will transfer to what you need, but give them the chance to paint the picture.

If you live in a community (and who doesn't), help clean up a blighted area, plant a community garden, join the PTA, coach a kid's sports team.  In other words, get involved.  Show our military men and women that you support them, by supporting what they fought for, a better, stronger community and country.

Not your cup of tea? Check out organizations like Points of Light or Team Rubicon to find out about other opportunities to help in your community or anywhere disaster might strike.

It is no surprise to me that after giving so much of themselves while enlisted, our veterans volunteer more hours than non-veterans, donate more money to charities and participate at a higher rate in civic associations and community organizations. 

So tomorrow, on Veteran's Day, definitely show appreciation to the vets you encounter, change one light to green, wave your flag proudly.  But go a step further and commit to invest your time and energy into bettering our shared community. 

It takes time, but we've been given a very precious gift in life and you can either be the person that drives by that eyesore of a public lot and complains about it or be the person that makes it useful and beautiful.

Thanks to all our veterans and active men and women for giving so much of yourselves, on the battlefield and off.

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Larry O'Connor

Founder/CEO of OWC

Other World Computing

Related Keywords:Greenlighting, military personnel, giving back


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