"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot"--Rudyard Kipling
"What can you do with a general? When he stops being a general?
Oh what can you do with a general who retires? Who's got a job for a general?
When he stops being a general?"--written by Irving Berlin, sung by Bing Crosby in 'White Christmas'
Anyone who has served or who has had family and friends serve their country through the military can relate to these famous poems and songs. My grandfather was a Tommy: a British soldier who underwent the horrors of The Somme in World War I, fighting the Kaiser. My father was in the Royal Air Force, 'National Service' or conscription after World War II, maintaining ultramodern jet fighter planes in the Cold War.
Of all the veterans those who fought in Vietnam had it the worst. I grew up in that era: too young to be called up (instant 4-F even if I was thanks to flat feet) but old enough to know what's going on, with teachers having served but won't talk about it and with classmates' older brothers contemplating going to Canada. Not only were there no parades as in past wars but many were greeted with hostility (Korean War vets were simply ignored) when they returned home, to an economy riddled with few opportunities due to a recession and wind-downs in the war and the space program, then thrown for a loop with the energy crisis of 1973.
So wretched were the experiences of many Vietnam vets both in the war and afterwards that they became stereotyped: unemployed, underemployed, and to varying degrees messed up. So much so they became staple of '70s and '80s dramas captured well so recently in 'Life on Mars' that was set in 1973, whose U.S. version was located in New York City as the eery CGI-ed glimpse of the Twin Towers showed in the first episode. Unfortunately there is a lot of sad truth in that stereotype. Ask anyone who has been close to a vet and the chances are what will come out, if anything, will be painful to tell and to hear.
So it is with the deepest respect that I salute our veterans. And that I salute the U.S. Army for devising and InfoCision for becoming one of the latest participants in the Army PaYS (Partnership for Youth Success) program for taking proactive action to ensure a future for them in civilian life.
PaYS, says the Army "is a recruiting initiative developed by the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) to appeal to young people interested in obtaining a quality civilian job after serving in the Army. This unique program is part of the Army's effort to partner with America's business community and re-connect America with the Army. The intent of the PaYS program is to provide an additional recruiting incentive to increase the Army's ability to man the force. Having a job with a leading employer using a skill learned in the Army makes the PaYS program attractive to young people."
In short PaYS honorably and effectively does what the military, and employers, should have been doing all along: looking after those who served their country by enabling employment opportunities for them when they re-enter civilian life. Forget the sign up bonus. A job counts for far more.
And in turn I salute InfoCision for signing up for this excellent program. And to West, which is also there for our service personnel and their families. Both companies also offer work-at-home programs, which are lifesavers for mobility-disabled vets.
(For the value of home work just ask Major (ret.) Jack Heacock, a service-disabled vet who was awarded the bronze star in Vietnam when he served with the U.S. Army Signal Corp. He developed and has taken his passion for distributed work to become a leading telework expert. He is co-founder and senior vice president of telework education and advocacy organization The Telework Coalition . )
The benefits for employers like InfoCision and West are considerable. PaYS partners will, says the Army, "gain employees who have developed professional work habits and have been held to the highest standards. These future employees will be professionally trained and experienced in their specific job skill. Employers will save precious training and human resource recruitment dollars."
Most importantly, there is that well-being of doing what is right for one's country and for those who made that commitment to lay down their lives to protect our freedoms. Those who serve deserve to be served.