Veterans Day image

We have days like today to remind us of things we have that we can easily take for granted, like freedom, a country that's a relatively safe place to live, and ongoing access to resources we need for health and comfort.

We have days like today to celebrate, salute, and well with pride about brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers who number among the 21.3 million veterans living in the United States and Puerto Rico, about one in 10 people in our civilian population.

We take twenty-four hours to be extra thankful. They worked 24/7 for 365 days for years in our nation's Armed Services to protect us from harm and protect our access to precious essential sustaining needs like air to breathe, and fresh water, and healthcare, and sanitation, and electricity.

U.S. Census infographic on U.S. Veterans.

For without the work of those people we honor on Veterans Day, our free line of supply to those essential items would be at risk. So, they are core and key to one of America's most valued traits, its resiliency.

What's more, as the Census notes, veterans provide an ongoing role in our communities and culture, both during and well beyond the terms of their official service. Here's just one example of evidence of that:

According to the latest statistics from the Survey of Business Owners, 2.5 million businesses in the United States were veteran-owned in 2012. These accounted for 9.2 percent of all firms in the nation. The proportion of total firms that were veteran-owned in each state ranged from 6.9 percent to 13.2 percent, with New York having one of the lowest rates and South Carolina having one of the highest rates.

And closer to home, vets have, and do, and will serve as a critical part of the talent base and leadership of home building and development organizations nationwide. Especially as the business community in residential construction is acutely aware of and grappling with shortages of skilled crew workers, veterans have been and will continue to be a needed pipeline for talent.

Already, many companies are working with the National Association of Home Builders' workforce arm, HBI to onboard veterans into home building organizations on job sites and in offices nationwide. But some remain unaware. And many of us would do well to consider trying to expand the funding resources of HBI as an important way to address the industry's labor and talent needs.

Also, here are a few take-away thoughts from LaTanya Guillory, HBI Regional Program Manager, Military Services:

  • Send a thank you card or handwritten letter expressing kind words of appreciation to your local VA clinic/hospital or USO for veterans who are patients. 
  • Acknowledge your gratitude on your personal social media sites throughout the month. 
  • Everyone has a veteran family member or friend. Take time to hear their story and if they are geographically near you, that conversation should be in person. If they are distant, take the time to pick up the phone and talk. You will learn so much from their accounts of being in the military.