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Veterans Give a ‘Competitive Edge’ to UPS
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The following post was written by Steve B. Brooks and originally appeared on The American Legion website.

United Parcel Service, better known to the world as UPS, has 24,000 veterans on its payroll and has a goal of hiring thousands more. Hundreds of its stores are run by veterans.

But Myron Gray, vice president of U.S. Operations for the shipping giant, told delegates to the 96th Annual American Legion National Convention on Aug. 28 that his company’s hiring practices aren’t driven solely by a sense of obligation. Read More »

New SBA Partnership Helps Veterans Access Small Business Opportunities
IFA

As we spend today honoring our veterans, I would like to highlight an event hosted in my store in Arlington, Virginia. On November 5, the International Franchise Association (IFA) made a special announcement, sharing exciting progress with the Operation Enduring Opportunity program. In 2011, the IFA made the largest private sector veteran hiring commitment to date as part of the White House Joining Forces initiative, by pledging to hire and recruit 80,000 veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses through 2014. The organization was pleased to announce that with the support of organizations including The UPS Store, they have already surpassed that number and have hired 151,557 veterans, nearly doubling their initial goal!

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Honoring Our Veterans
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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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Saying Thanks to our Troops One Care Package at a Time
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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
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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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The UPS Store Delivers Support to Veterans Through Operation Enduring Opportunity
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In the seven years I spent in the U.S. Marine Corps, I met countless remarkable men and women who day in and day out committed themselves to serving our country and helping keep its citizens safe. Many of my fellow Marines stayed in the service and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them will be soon coming home.

Over the next several months, tens of thousands of men and women will return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. Opportunities in the private sector are needed to provide these individuals a smooth transition into civilian life. Veteran unemployment rates are 11.7% and 22% for veterans under 25 years. These are staggering and undeserved numbers among the men and women who have honorably served to help keep our nation free.

Since 2003, The UPS Store has participated in the International Franchise Association (IFA) VetFran Initiative, a voluntary effort of IFA member-companies that is designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans.  In that time, approximately 150 The UPS Store locations have opened under this program, providing more than $700,000 in discounts to these men and women.

Now it’s time to do more …

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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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