On this Veteran’s Day, we at Blue Shield of California want to recognize the incredible and inspiring contributions made by our employees who have served our country with distinction, and who now bring their considerable talents to work every day. Called Operation V.E.T., our Military Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG) has been the brains - and the brawn - behind several community events in 2019 that have enriched the lives of many people across California.
“Operation VET is the driving force behind Blue Shield’s commitment to supporting our Veterans and broader military community.” said Simon Huber who along with Marty Katreeb, are the Operation VET founding chairs. “Our team of passionate employee volunteers continues to make a significant impact on our military community, both internally and externally, in a variety of ways.”
Sacramento Stand Down, August
Operation V.E.T. organized more than 125 employees to assist in the annual “Sacramento Stand Down” event, which gave veterans-in-need access to services like health counseling, dental work, job training and haircuts.
This year was a little different because thieves broke into Sacramento Stand Down’s warehouse prior to the event and stole or damaged tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. Not to be deterred, Operation V.E.T responded with a $15,000 check – money the group collected at a fundraising barbecue they hosted on 4th of July weekend, plus a special Blue Shield employee donation drive that was launched shortly after the heist.
Skateboard Build, September
Operation V.E.T. and our partners at Blue Star Families led 70 Blue Shield employees in a fun-filled event to build skateboards for youth in San Diego. The finished boards were donated to children of active-duty service members in Southern California, eliciting smiles all around.
The year before, our vets helped build bicycles for kids of active-duty members, also in San Diego.
Annual Veterans Day Appreciation Event, November
And just this past week, Operation V.E.T. celebrated Veterans and military family members with the group’s signature all-day forum in Sacramento. It included inspiring speakers, workshops, and Veteran-focused service opportunities.
More than 200 participants heard presentations on topics like the “Face of Female Veterans” and “Traumatic Brain Injury” and attended a Blue Shield Veteran employee panel that discussed transitioning into civilian life and experiences in the workplace.They also helped build care packages and wrote thank you notes to active military members and Veterans.