WellCare employs military veterans and active duty military personnel as well as spouses of veterans and those on active duty. Veterans Day is an opportunity to pause and show our support for those who wore – or still wear – our nation’s uniform. Two associates share their thoughts on how civilians might honor our veterans.
Megan DePecol is director of talent acquisition in WellCare’s human resources area. She enlisted in the air force after high school and, by the time her military stint had ended four-and-a-half years later, she had achieved the rank of E4. Megan was stationed at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea and Aviano Air Base in Italy where she supported Operation Deny Flight and Operation Deliberate Fore, NATO-backed campaigns related to the Bosnian War.
Rebecca Staggs is a senior network development representative. She served as a navy petty officer third-class areographer’s mate. “That’s a really fancy way of saying I was a weather-guesser,” she quips. Rebecca served four years of active duty and another four in the reserves. She participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Part of Rebecca’s time was spent on the USS George Washington CVN 73, a nuclear aircraft carrier, and in Sasebo, Japan.
Megan: Serving my country is one of the greatest privileges I have experienced in my life. Representing my country abroad and supporting real-world missions was an honor.
Civilians might observe Veterans Day by saying “thank you” to veterans within their community. Also, because there are a lot of needs in the veteran community, civilians might consider expanding their acknowledgements beyond one day of recognition. There are charities and organizations that assist veterans relative to their transition, continuing education, injuries, substance abuse issues, suicide prevention and employment services. Finally, in addition to saying thanks and giving back wherever possible, civilians might also observe the day by purposefully taking the time to enjoy the day, feeling safe and protected, knowing we have the best military.
Last but not least, when I think about veterans, the following quote resonates most with me and drives me to give back to the veteran community: “‘What is a veteran?’ A veteran, whether active duty, discharged, retired or reserve – is someone who, at one point in life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount of ‘Up to, and including, his or her life.'”
Rebecca: The United States military is an entirely volunteer force, so Veterans Day is the perfect day to volunteer at a food bank, contribute to a home building project geared toward veterans, or head to an assisted-living facility or nursing home and visit with someone. The staff usually knows who the veterans are and which ones don’t have family coming to see them any longer. If you’re not sure how to find one, contact the local Veterans Affairs or American Legion office.
You can connect. Veterans Day falls on a Saturday this year, and many working people have the day off from work. If it’s doable, go to a Veterans Day parade. Approach someone in uniform and ask about their service. That person represents history and learning about their career can be awe-inspiring. Most veterans are more than willing to talk an ear off.
You can remember, although this one is more personal. An old tradition that my Popi taught us was a moment of silence. I don’t know if it comes from anywhere, but my family observes a moment of silence at 11 in the morning. So, it’s a moment of silence at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.
You can be proud. The freedoms enjoyed by U.S. citizens are secured by people who chose this duty. Everyone currently serving in uniform, and a large majority of the veterans that this day celebrates, chose a military life. We left homes, spouses, children, jobs, schools or potential careers to do a job that has no days off. It requires readiness to mobilize 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For me, there is nothing that I will ever be more proud of than my service to my country and my part in defending the rights of all our citizens.