Practicing “Intentional Gratitude” for Those Who Served

Nancy CranfordBy Nancy Cranford

Alliance Partner Talent Solutions Our country recently celebrated Veteran’s Day. As the wife of a Vietnam Veteran, it is an honor and a privilege to celebrate this special day each year with my husband and other veterans. And, while I appreciate the recognition our Veterans receive on Veterans Day, I know firsthand that thanking them for their service one day a year isn’t near enough. If you are a veteran, or have a family member that served, you know that serving our country means being willing to give your life so the rest of us can enjoy our freedom. Many of us have a spouse, father, mother, son, or daughter that served or is serving in our military. You know the sacrifice made every single day, and the price our veterans and their families pay, long after their loved one returns home – if they are lucky enough to return home. Our veterans didn’t hesitate to fulfill their duty to our country.  After learning more about the unbelievable sacrifice our veterans make, I realized I had a duty, too.  Instead of recognizing and thanking our veterans for their service once a year, I decided I could and I should do more to help our heroes.  I realized I could practice “Intentional Gratitude” every day year-round.  I also realized how personally rewarding it is to do so.   So, how can we practice “Intentional Gratitude” for our Veterans?
  • Express Your Appreciation Every Day: Look for veterans daily and go out of your way to thank them for their service. Many veterans proudly wear hats identifying their branch of service. Ask if you can shake their hand, ask where they served, their branch, their position, etc.
  • Wear RED on Friday: RED stands for “Remember Everyone Deployed.” Practice your patriotic support for our actively deployed military men and women by wearing red every Friday.
  • Mentor a Returning Veteran: No matter your field, you can help “American Corporate Partners” by becoming a mentor to a servicemember transitioning from our military to corporate America.  Your support can make a difference in their successful transition.
  • Hire a Hero: There is much talk about the “War for Talent” and the shortage of good workers. Our veterans know the importance of fulfilling a mission (meeting goals) and never giving up (resilience). Be intentional about interviewing our veterans and giving them a chance.
  • Start or Support your Company Military Employee Resource Group (ERG): If your company doesn’t have a Military Resource Group, start one, or join yours. Almost all of us know someone who serves/served, so it is easy to feel you are part of the group. A Military ERG is inclusive!
  • Support a Veteran focused Non-Profit: I have the honor of serving on the Board for the Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), a nonprofit that helps our veterans in crisis – men, women, and their children, by providing them with housing, optimal wellness, and workforce readiness. VEO helps veterans to again become self-sufficient members of their community. The experience you gain serving on a non-profit board is invaluable. You or your company can support any military non-profit with your time, expertise, or monetary donations. VEO and their CEO won the 2021 Community Hero Award from our World Champion Atlanta Braves.  If you would like to learn more about the needs of our veterans or VEO, click on this link: 2021 Braves Community Heroes: VEO CEO Tony Kimbrough
I’ve found the benefits of practicing Intentional Gratitude for those who serve to be priceless.  I’m confident you will, too. I encourage all of you to find out for yourself. It will make your day – and theirs!