Serving my country as a U.S. Naval Reserve officer is both a privilege and a responsibility. A privilege because my company, like many of yours, gives me the time and the encouragement I need to take two weeks out of every summer to serve the required active duty tour. But it’s also a huge responsibility to be a part-time military officer trying to balance the demands of a full-time publishing job. It’s my responsibility to fully focus on the military operation when I’m there, but I also know that it’s business as usual back home.
Not all Reservists get the overwhelming support I get from Randall Publishing Company. I’m pretty vocal about how much I appreciate the way everyone pitches in to keep things running smoothly during my absence. Most fleet owners feel the same way about their deployed employees or military Reservists. Many trucking company employees are serving in Iraq, and press clippings show that they are quick to give their company the credit for making their deployment as stress-free as possible. Some go over and beyond the letter of the law.
Chris Cooper, general manager for Boyd Bros. Transportation’s Birmingham, Ala., terminal, says his company’s culture creates a supportive atmosphere for all employees, especially those called up to serve their country.
“When an employee is deployed overseas, the last thing they need to worry about is job security,” Cooper says. “Our employees know their job and seniority is waiting for them when they return. While they are overseas, we do everything we can to help them feel connected to the company.” Boyd Bros. tries to make a difference by sending care packages and gift baskets, and encouraging employees to send e-mails to those stationed overseas. They even produce a video where everyone can say hello and give a newsy update.
When an employee returns, there’s always a big welcome-home party with lots of posters and balloons. “We really mean it when we say we support our troops, our country and our employees,” Cooper says. Boyd Bros. runs red, white and blue painted trucks, but their true patriotic colors show by how they treat their military employees.
This Independence Day, I want to salute those companies and those employees who give more than lip service to supporting our troops.