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Serving Those Who Serve Us All: UPS Signs ESGR Statement of Support
American flags

Today, I am helping to organize a ceremony at UPS headquarters, where UPS will sign the Statement of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a 40-year U.S. Armed Forces initiative that promotes cooperation and understanding between members of the military and civilian employers. This gives us the opportunity to show the more than 23,500 UPS employees who’ve served – or are now serving – in the Guard or Reserves that we proudly stand behind their service. It gives us an opportunity to say “thank you”.

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Honoring Our Veterans
American flags

I’m proud of my father’s service as a medic in the U.S. Army for six years. Being deployed away from home for long periods of time and possibly in harm’s way is a sacrifice that is hard to repay.

UPS is also proud of their military employees. In fact, approximately 25,000 UPSers are veterans and about 2,500 UPSers are currently on military leave.

This Sunday is Veteran’s Day, a holiday honoring and thanking all United States Armed Forces members for their service. We asked UPSers to share their stories about serving in the military. Here are just a couple of them:

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Saluting our Nation’s Heroes with Logistics
Marine Corps Marathon

You can’t help but admire them. In moments of extreme darkness, their support to our nation is unwavering.

They are tasked to secure our freedoms and protect our national interests, often facing austere conditions and challenging battlefield scenarios that most of us can not even begin to imagine.

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Swimming with SEALS: Mission Accomplished
Brian Kolfage

In the millions of tons of freight and packages UPS moves each day, there’s an important story behind every air or ground bill.  Once in a while, the story pulls a little harder at the heartstrings.  Every so often, smiles get a little wider over a completed mission.

One such story features US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage whose courage and perseverance in the face of hardship are truly inspirational.

In 2004, Brian tragically lost both legs and one hand while serving in Iraq. After sustaining the worst injuries ever survived by an airman in any war, Brian has continued to surf, kayak, and scuba dive with a true joy for life.  As an advocate and avid communicator, he travels the country with his wife Ashley to share the importance of supporting our wounded veterans and troops.

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Saying Thanks to our Troops One Care Package at a Time
Support Our Troops 3

My father served nearly 23 years in the U.S. Air Force so as you might imagine, I have a deep appreciation for the personal sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed forces.  Long deployments away from family and friends in difficult and often dangerous conditions make them all heroes in my book. 

So I was especially proud to learn that this July, UPS is helping send a little bit of home to the thousands of troops stationed abroad through a partnership with Goodyear and some of our other fellow NASCAR partners and sponsors.  It’s being done in collaboration with Support Our Troops®, or SOT, a non-partisan, non-political charity established specifically to help bolster the morale and well-being of active duty troops and their families.

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The UPS Store Franchise Network Helps Veterans Take the Next Step
The UPS Store Franchise Network Helps Veterans Take the Next Step

When I was in school, we learned about finding the “right” company to work for when we graduated. We were told to find a place that reflected our individual values and helped to nurture our professional ones. It all seemed like a bunch of talk when I was sitting on the receiving end, but now that I am experiencing it, I can see just how valuable that advice was.

Last Thursday, Tim Davis, vice president of operations for The UPS Store franchise network, announced that The UPS Store will be extending approximately $300,000 more in financial incentives for up to 10 qualified U.S. military veterans interested in opening a new The UPS Store franchise location.  This commitment is part of “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a national initiative to recruit or hire as many as 75,000 military veterans and their family members by the end of 2014. These discounts are in addition to the almost $1 million in discounts The UPS Store has already given to veterans since 2004 through its participation with the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program.

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Helping Heroes Become Legends

It’s Friday evening. The phone rings. The caller says, “A part for my bike isn’t going to be delivered until Monday, and I need it for a race tomorrow morning. Can you help?”

The race happened to be the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in Pittsburgh, Pa.  And that athlete was one of more than 600 who competed in last’s year event.

Immediately, a team of UPSers worked together to locate the package and rerouted it to one of our facilities near the race site. Within hours of receiving the athlete’s call, the package was delivered.

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UPSers Deliver for The 2011 Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Wheelchair Games
UPS volunteers

For years, I’ve worked behind the scenes on behalf of The UPS Foundation to coordinate the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) National Wheelchair Games.  Coordination for this event has always been a delight.  However, nothing truly compares to attending the Games with UPS volunteers, athletes, caregivers, family and friends of athletes, coaches and healthcare team members.  The excitement and energy from a host of supporters, the spirit of courage and determination from over 600 athletes and confidence that emanates from coaches are all too much to contain in one city! 

PVA was founded in 1946 to assist with a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of armed forces veterans who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction.  Since 1988 UPS has provided more than $800,000 in funding as well as our logistical expertise to support the annual Wheelchair Games and PVA programs that benefit veterans with spinal cord injuries. 

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“This is Joey, Everybody”
UPSer Joeri Desira and her son

It’s easy to understand why the following video has received more than 200,000 hits on YouTube.

Watch as Lansing, MI, Air Gateway UPSer Joeri Desira is paid an unexpected visit at work by her son — a serviceman currently deployed in Kuwait with the U.S. Army.

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UPS Crewmembers Search for Remains of Missing WWII Veterans

Many UPS employees volunteer close to home, in their own neighborhoods and local communities. For crewmembers Mark Noah and Marc Flagg, their volunteer work has taken them to the remote reaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Noah, a Miami-based 757/767 captain, is founder and president of History Flight Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers rides in vintage aircraft to raise money for research in locating the remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Pacific islands during World War II.

“These are young people who gave their lives for their country and were lost and forgotten. Finding them is as important to their family members alive today as it was in 1946 when they were listed as missing in action and unrecoverable,” Noah said.

Noah and Flagg, a Louisville-based MD-11 first officer, recently returned from a research trip to Tarawa, a tiny atoll in the central Pacific that was the scene of a ferocious battle in 1943. More than 1,100 Marines and nearly all of the island’s 5,000 Japanese defenders died during three days of fighting. Many of the American dead were buried in mass graves, with stakes marking the burial sites.

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