Why do we do this? Why do we have a program called VetsWork? Let me see if I can illustrate the two key factors behind this program…
I don’t know about you, but I love John Wayne. Mostly, I love his westerns, but I can’t think of a movie of his that I didn’t like. I think it’s because of the integrity that he brought out in each of the characters he played. They weren’t perfect by any means, but they were always committed to what they believed in. I obviously don’t know who he was beyond those characters, but I always attribute that integrity to him. That characteristic is what I believe should be the standard for us as citizens of this country. Leader or laborer. Republican or Democrat. We stand firm on our individual beliefs. We align ourselves with those elements that support our beliefs. At the Mt. Adams Institute we believe it is our responsibility to care for this place. I would say J.W. felt similarly. I have always been moved by Wayne’s “America – Why I Love Her” (see video). I have heard it many times at the opening ceremonies of local rodeos that I have attended over the years. It usually involves a lone rider entering the arena posting the Stars and Stripes. The rider slowly encircles the arena and gently picks up speed as the audio of John Wayne increases in intensity. At the end, the horse and rider are at a dead run, flag whipping in the wind, and come sliding to dramatic halt in the middle of the arena to the roar of the crowd. The words, the music, the flag, the action and the emotion are all overwhelming. It’s that love of the natural wonder of this country and our place in it that he’s talking about.[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQM1oLnMLNU[/youtube]
Supporting Our Veterans
I have always heard that it’s how you respond during the tough times that reveals your character. Well, times are tough. Unemployment and the economy are putting families in positions they never would have imagined. This is what our service men and women are returning to. It’s time to respond. How will our country’s character be revealed? How will this country we love respond to the needs of those who have served?
From my perspective there is a lot of momentum behind the support for returning military veterans. You see it in legislation, non-profit organizations, hiring priorities, and many other supports across the country. In their white paper titled, “Sea of Goodwill: Matching the Donor to the Need,” Major John W. Copeland and Colonel David W. Sutherland state, “Our nation is filled with countless donors. They are private, public, faith-based, governmental, and non-governmental organizations whose sole desire is to care for our warriors and families.” They assess that, “the outpouring of concern and the subsequent movement to action on the part of millions of Americans to embrace warriors and their families is overwhelming.” Bringing together all of the intent, concern, and resources seems to be the biggest issue.
In their paper, Major Copeland and Colonel Sutherland identify a trinity of reintegration consisting of three components: Education, Access to Healthcare, and Employment. It is this final component that VetsWork was designed to address. While the program provides ongoing supports for the educational and healthcare needs of our returning service men and women, it is the transition to civilian careers that drives VetsWork. We believe that our returning veterans have a great deal to offer our nation beyond their years of military service. We are betting that they can lead our natural resource and public lands agencies into the future. We know that the combination of a service oriented veteran and an individual who knows we need to care for this great land of ours with sustainable policies and practices will be an asset to our planet for generations to come.
We want to be more than another example of a job for a veteran. VetsWork was designed to support the transition from the military culture to the civilian workforce. And more than that; to create a new and meaningful career for the environmentally focused men and women who this great country and want to see it cared for so that they can be proud of their life’s work, even beyond their military service. Visit VetsWork on our website and check out our current position descriptions and application instructions. We do this in the interest of our nation. We do this for our veterans and for the “beautiful America” John Wayne hails in the recited poem heard at rodeos across the land. We love her, too. That’s why we do it.