Veterans: Giving Thanks—and More?
November is veteran’s month. I find this particularly meaningful as November is also the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time when we celebrate home with family and dear friends, in thanks for our blessings.
The greatest of these blessings is surely peace and security, and for these we owe thanks to our veterans—for without their sacrifice, November would certainly not be all football and tryptophan-fueled napping. So: do something for a Vet this year—even if it is only to give thanks as you raise a glass at your Thanksgiving. And maybe consider doing more. I am pleased to relate two stories along these lines; one personal and one professional.
Our niece was married last month in Berkley, California and we celebrated this with a party at an Oakland brew-pub. There was plenty of great food and beer and a great time was had by all. The arrangements were set up for us to enjoy all the pizza, salad and assorted appetizers we wanted for two hours, so naturally we had our fill. With half-hour to go, we were all full, yet there was still loads of food laid out.
My lovely wife, having noticed a large homeless settlement along Brush Street, nudged me and said, “We need to gather all this up and take it to those folks.” Whereupon she flagged down our server, told her what she wanted to do and got moving on boxing it all up. The server knew the area and commented that there were many veterans there and said “You know, you still have a half-hour left on your all-you-can-eat. I’ll put in a few more pizzas and salads.”
In the end, we packaged 50 full meals with salads, hot, fresh pizza, appetizers and utensils. We got in our van and drove out to Brush Street and passed them out to a seriously gracious and grateful crowd; veterans, children, women, men, old, young, every race—people just like us, missing only the blessings that we take for granted. Did we feel good? Oh yeah.
My other story is professional. At Abaco, we have developed our own culture. Over our now 11 months in existence, I have noticed that we have a genuine human, personal touch. I see it in the way we treat our customers, but I also see it in our folks as individuals.
Recently, our CEO, Bernie Anger, established a quarterly “Transformers” award. This was set up to encourage us to be brave, be different and be better. Last quarter I am pleased to say that I was on a team that won a “Transformer.” The award is a contribution to a charity that the team would agree on. I was so very pleased that we all agreed that it should be for our Veterans. In the end, we agreed on the Blue Angels Foundation who work tirelessly to provide housing and assistance to all veterans.
So, as you chop onions, baste your turkey, cheer your favorite team on and take that first sweet bite of pumpkin pie, please remember to thank a Veteran. And just maybe find a way to do some unexpected act of kindness for one.