Oregon National Guard Supports Executive Briefing

  • Published
  • By Major Melinda Lepore
  • 142FW/PA
Nearly 400 people joined Governor John Kitzhaber and Major General Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General Oregon for an executive briefing at Portland Air National Guard Base today. The second annual briefing focused upon learning more about the Oregon National Guard and how community members can help support those who serve. It also recognized some of the Northwest Region's top employers of veterans.

"Jobs are at the forefront of many returning veterans' minds and hiring them is a win for Oregon businesses. Our veterans bring initiative, dedication, and loyalty to their jobs," said Governor Kitzhaber. "I thank the businesses that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to employ and support our veterans."

Five companies from our region received "Above and Beyond" awards. Businesses included Platt Electric, Northwest Renewable Energy Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Securitas and Intel. The award is given in limited numbers to recognize employers who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees.

Kaiser Permanente was nominated for the "Above and Beyond" award by Staff Sergeant Lynn Sonnen who is currently deployed for a second time to the Middle East. Sonnen's husband, Paul is a Kaiser employee who is home taking care of their five children, ages 12 to 16. Sonnen said Kaiser's flexibility, understanding and support during his wife's deployment, have eased the strain of "the absence of mom".

Ardine Williams, Vice President and Director of Human Resource Enterprise Services for Intel Corporation, said that the silicon chips Intel makes begin as a grain of sand. It is people who transform that grain of sand into the chips found in computers. "People are our most important resource; they make the impossible, possible," she said. Today's briefing applauded Intel for hiring Oregon National Guard, Reserve and Veterans and for investing in the people of Oregon.

FLIR Systems Vice President and General Manager of Operations, Kevin Tucker, shared his perspective of hiring Guardsmen and the advantages they provide in private and public sectors. "When you get a recommendation for a service member, look at the résumé a little differently; have a set of expectations beyond what you see." Tucker said, when you hire a Veteran, you get someone who is humble, trustworthy, team-oriented, innovative and perseverant - traits that don't always show up on paper.

Today, less than one percent of Americans serve in the United States military. As hundreds of Oregon National Guardsmen, Reservists and Veterans continue to deploy and return home, it is the support of their families, friends and employers who make their mission a success.

"There is no greater valor than serving our country for the cause of peace and freedom," said Jim Linkous, emcee of today's executive briefing. "Welcoming our troops home and providing sustainable jobs for them and their families is the best initial step we can make to show our appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice."