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Round up: spotlight on organizations that are Making a Difference.

Wounded Warriors

"Relay for the Troops"

Raises More than $52,000 for the Wounded Warriors Program and Walter Reed Society ... and STILL COUNTING

The cross-country "Relay for the Troops," led by NYK Logistics with support from NDTA, made its journey from Long Beach to Washington, DC in just nine days with celebrations taking place in Long Beach, Dallas, Memphis, Washington, DC and other towns along the way. The event, featuring motorcycle riders transporting US flags that have flown over military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, was covered on TV, radio, newspaper, and online. In fact, several observers showed up at Walter Reed Medical Center, the final destination, explaining that they heard about the event on CNN. Raising awareness of the Walter Reed Society and the Wounded Warriors Program was a primary goal.

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Hundreds of motorcycle escorts joined the relay, including 65 spandex-clad bicycle riders carrying the flags for a 20-mile leg in Dallas. Police escorts closed down freeways to allow the NYK Logistics truck and trailer to roll through without delay. Thanks goes to TTSI for professional driver Dave Wages and his beautiful brand new tractor. If you were fortunate enough to see the NYK Logistics "Big Rig" roll in or out of one of our relay ceremonies, you know it was a proud moment to be an NYK Logistics employee. Congressmen, Mayors, and local dignitaries spoke at various locations together with military personnel who supported the effort. The flags were presented to major contributors who, to date, helped raise $52,000 in donations earmarked for the Wounded Warriors Program and The Walter Reed Society. Contributions are still coming in, and the total could exceed $60,000! Special thanks go to Pacer International who stepped up as a fully-funded co-sponsor. Both organizations have a profound impact. The Walter Reed Society provides financial support for families of recovering soldiers at Walter Reed who are sometimes hospitalized for several months. Financial grants enable families to be by their loved one's side without worry for rent, groceries, or other expenses. The Wounded Warriors' mission is to provide a post-recovery retreat for soldiers and their families allowing them to reconnect and recover. Retreat time is also available to families who suffer loss. As one mother explains, "it let my children just be children again and leave the sadness of losing their Father behind if just for a few days." A recent recipient of a Wounded Warriors gift was a young mother of two whose husband had promised them a trip to Disney World when he came home from Iraq. He was killed before he could fulfill that promise, but Wounded Warriors stepped in and his promise was kept.

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Leaders of both organizations were on hand in DC to receive the donation and were extremely grateful for the time, resources, and passion that NYK Logistics employees brought to the cause. Relay participants were then invited to visit with several soldiers and their families in the hospital ward. Freedom Flags shirts and commemorative pins were passed out amid spirited conversation. Spending time with those who have sacrificed so much in service to our nation drove home the significance of the relay. There were many touching moments. The group met a soldier who couldn't have been more than 19 years old, blind and brain damaged from a head wound. His brother was with him to help him communicate. Another young man, tucked in a wheelchair with his mother and sisters close by, was also seriously injured. His left calf was blown apart (and somehow put back together) by shrapnel from a roadside bomb that came through the floor of the truck he was driving. He also had lost four fingers of his right hand in the incident. All they could talk about was how lucky he was. The young man, who had been in Iraq for six weeks when he was wounded, added that he was eager to learn how to shoot a gun without his right hand so he could remain in the service. The last visit was with another kid who appeared more like a high school student. He sat tall in his bed, excited to have visitors. His fiance, looking proud and shy, was beside him as he talked about home, his Marine buddies, and how he regretted not being with them doing his part. He seemed to be the only one in the room oblivious to the fact that both his legs were missing from about four inches below his hips. He faces a minimum of six months of additional rehab to get new legs and learn how to walk again. A common thread ran through all of the stories--each was grounded in positive energy and immense pride in having served our country. The experience was sobering and inspiring--to see so many young people with injuries that will change their lives forever, but knowing that those wounds can not defeat their spirits. For us, it was the best part of the entire Freedom Flags initiative. We want to do it all over again and make it 100 times bigger.

by Tom Perdue, EVP & COO

Jim Craig, SVP Sales

Paul J. Birnbaum, VP Sales

NYK Logistics

Hero Miles

Over 175,000,000 miles used

AIRLINE PARTNERS ACCEPTING DONATED MILES

* Alaska Airlines

** Delta Airlines

* Midwest Airlines

** Northwest Airlines

** United Airlines

** US Airways

Donate miles: www.fisherhouse.org (use Hero Miles link)

The Hero Miles program, through a partnership with all the major US airlines and the Fisher House Foundation, has provided close to 6300 flights, reuniting families of our wounded heroes from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Every flight provided is made possible because a family or individual takes the time and makes the effort to donate frequent flier miles to the program assuring that the 2.5 to 3 million miles needed in any given week are available. The need will continue, and with ongoing donations, the Hero Miles program will have the resources necessary to provide assistance and support for "our greatest national treasure ... our military service men and women and their loved ones."

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Helping Veterans Succeed in Business

Booz | Allen | Hamilton

Booz Allen Far Exceeds Subcontracting Goals to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned and Veteran-Owned Small Business

In government fiscal year 2006, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. successfully subcontracted 6.2 percent to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, more than double the recently established federal goal of 3 percent, and 10.4 percent to veteran-owned small businesses.

These percentages demonstrate that Booz Allen makes every effort to establish realistic and challenging goals on every subcontracting plan in order to provide meaningful opportunities for small businesses. Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran--owned subcontractors are no exception. Booz Allen firmly believes that those who have served and protected our country are crucial to our nation's lasting viability and that they deserve the maximum practicable opportunity to do business with prime contractors and the federal government alike.

Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses have repeatedly contributed to Booz Allen's successful client engagements, bringing new ideas, innovations, capabilities, and diversity to our clients as well as to Booz Allen. Through relationships with businesses of diverse backgrounds, Booz Allen has increased its competitive advantage, offered more services to clients, improved processes, and has ultimately fulfilled the firm's promise to help clients succeed.

In order to maintain a competitive advantage, Booz Allen teams with best-in-class large and small businesses to complement our service strategy and to offer clients comprehensive, innovative solutions. Booz Allen is committed to creating a diverse environment that actively fosters respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people and businesses of all backgrounds. Booz Allen's subcontracting activities are no exception. To emphasize the firm's dedication to supplier diversity, Booz Allen has a distinct program office which serves as an internal small-business liaison under the auspices of the Small Business Office (SBO).

The SBO is dedicated to promoting companies offering diverse backgrounds on every client engagement, particularly small businesses. Not only is it mandated by the US federal government that prime contractors provide subcontracting opportunities to small businesses, but it is also the right thing to do as a strong corporate citizen. Therefore, policies have been issued from the highest levels of the firm to ensure that Booz Allen involves small businesses of every socioeconomic category, including veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, to the maximum extent possible.

While Booz Allen does not select subcontractors based solely on socioeconomic category, the firm constantly seeks out companies with diverse backgrounds in addition to complementary service offerings and sound business ethics. For each procurement, Booz Allen reviews and considers its own capabilities in addition to small business goals and capabilities, government contracting requirements, and client knowledge. This approach produces specific, small business subcontracting opportunities tailored to each procurement.

Lynn Livengood, Booz Allen's Small Business Liaison Officer said, "It's exciting to see how well Booz Allen has responded to the government by increasing its emphasis on the value of veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses as demonstrated by our fiscal year 2006 subcontracting performance. In government fiscal year 2005, Booz Allen reported 2.5 percent to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. We nearly tripled those dollars in government fiscal year 2006, which is a clear indication of our commitment to the small business community."

Families Find Comfort at Fisher House

Reprint Courtesy of CBS News Archives 12/24/06

Sandy Homuth and Lorena Moss are members of a growing club no one wants to join: the families of America's roughly 10,000 seriously wounded soldiers.

People like them are finding refuge at the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Fisher House was established by a private foundation so families can stay, free of charge, on the grounds of major military and Veterans Administration medical centers as their loved ones are being treated.

Moss' husband, Channing, nearly died in a grenade attack in Afghanistan last March. "People just don't understand unless they're actually going through it--having your husband leave you in perfect condition and then come back not the same at all," Moss, 23, told CBS News Sunday Morning correspondent Susan Spencer. "Their life has changed forever."

Homuth's strapping 21-year-old son, Jeremiah, lost his right arm in combat, also in Afghanistan, just a month into his tour. "I knew the risks, and it frightened me to think that my son would be in harm's way," said Homuth, 44. "I thought, 'He's either going to come home fine, or he's not going to come home.' I never in my mind thought about him coming home injured." His mother said the entire family has changed forever because of what happened to Jeremiah. "They told us that they actually want us here," she said. "They see that soldiers heal faster with family members present."

For the Mosses, Fisher House is literally home. Lorena has put everything in storage and they have lived in Room 27 for seven months with their daughters, two-year-old Juliana and four-month-old Ariana, who was born at Walter Reed. But given what they've been through since that rocket propelled grenade slammed into Channing Moss' tank, it's nothing. Channing still has to endure six more months of surgeries.

"Some days are better than others," Lorena Moss said. "Some days, I just can't handle it. I'm like, 'I can't do this.' But then I look at my husband, and I'm like, 'Wow, everything he's had to undergo.' If he can do it, I can do it. We can do it together."

"If you're by yourself, I feel like you don't have nobody to encourage you to pick up your spirit," Channing Moss said. "And once I saw my wife's eyes, I wanted to jump straight up out of bed."

At Fisher House, patients and their family members understand and support each other.

"We share and then, by the same token, we build each other up, so when I'm feeling like I want to scream, or wanna cry or wanna roll up in a ball and disappear, they give me the strength to move on," Lorena Moss said.

"Somehow we've just grown to help each other and support each other," Sandy Homuth said. "It's almost like family here. It's very special." Homuth quit her job as a hairdresser to be here with Jeremiah. She says her biggest challenge today is not to be an overbearing, overprotective mother. "I like being a mom, and I had to be careful about that, because I know he's an independent man," she said.

But Jeremiah understands that he has to learn to deal with his parents dressing him and helping him with tasks he could once do without thinking. "This injury has made me very humble, you know what I mean?" he said. "If my family wasn't here, I don't know what I'd be doing. Sittin' in my room and getting depressed and drinking myself into a stupor." Either Sandy or Jeremiah's father, Jeff, is always at Walter Reed. They rotate every two weeks between Washington and their home in Huntley, Illinois, where Jeff is a fireman.

But the Homuths, the Mosses and other families at Fisher house don't seem focused on their sacrifice, rather, on small victories: daily progress and eventual recovery.

"He loves us so much and that's why I have to be strong and I have to be his backbone," Lorena Moss said. "He did it for us, so I have to be there now for him."

"I'm getting to see how incredibly brave and courageous these young men are," Sandy Homuth said. "They're fighting back, to get back to some kind of a life that is--they've never had before. And to me, they're the most courageous people I've ever met."

Read about Operation Hero Miles, page 23, which enables people to donate frequent flyer miles for the families of injured soldiers to use to come to visit them. For more on Fisher House, visit www.fisherhouse.org.

Starting Over

Employment Opportunities for Veterans at VDOT

Wounded veterans who can't or don't wish to return to jobs they had before serving in combat may find an opportunity at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to restart their working lives as civilians.

VDOT is developing a Wounded Veteran Internship Program for veterans who find that they are not suited physically or emotionally to a former job or who find that the job is no longer available. The program will allow veterans to revamp old job skills or develop new ones, and VDOT will attempt to locate the internships close to where the veterans are receiving rehabilitation or now live.

"This will be a place of transition for the veterans," according to Louis Bromley, VDOT's coordinator of the new program. The program is the only one of its kind among departments of transportation across the country, and it is expected to serve as a model for other DOTs, Bromley added. The Federal Highway Administration is providing grant money and is partnering with VDOT in the program.

Wounds can be physical or psychological, and the internship is expected to serve primarily veterans of US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but will not be limited to veterans of those operations. A number of veteran service-related organizations are working with VDOT to implement the program.

Internships will last from six months to two years, depending on the needs of the veterans and the VDOT office in which they are placed. Veterans will be compensated at an hourly rate determined by the skill sets involved and the particular position.

"These will be meaningful positions," Bromley emphasizes. "They will not be for just answering the phone or running errands." Placement decisions will start with each veteran's aptitudes and interests, and placement would be in one of many VDOT specialties, including planning, finance, project management, security, procurement, quality control, and others.

VDOT plans to offer veterans in the program an opportunity to be mentored by VDOT employees who are veterans. Mentoring groups will be established as the program develops, Bromley said. They will help interns adjust to the workplace by giving emotional and technical support.

Several candidates have been identified, with potential to accept 10 veterans. Initially, candidates selected for an intern position would be processing out of active military duty. Later, the program might include those who have returned to civilian life and are having difficulty working a job.

Veterans in the program could compete for full-time VDOT jobs, or they could be introduced to jobs in the private sector or another government agency. VDOT plans to promote the program to businesses and industries that do work for the department to offer veterans broader opportunities in their job search, Bromley said.

For more information, contact:

Louis E. Bromley, Jr.

Wounded Veterans Program Coordinator VDOT, Civil Rights Division

1221 East Broad Street | Richmond, VA 23219

888-508-3737; 804-786-2842 (Office) 804-432-4932 (Cell)

LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION

*** Relay for the Troops

www.relayfortroops.com

*** Wounded Warriors Program

www.woundedwarriors.org

*** The Walter Reed Society

www.walterredsociety.org
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Defense Transportation Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Perdue, Tom
Publication:Defense Transportation Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:2823
Previous Article:Host nation trucking in Afghanistan: good for Afghanistan, good for the US.
Next Article:2007 NDTA calendar of events.
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