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News | Nov. 7, 2017

Veteran and educator makes return visit to motivate Land and Maritime workforce

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

“Three hundred and thirty million Americans lay claim to the rights, liberties and securities provided by this nation, but not a single one of them is obligated to defend them. Veterans are pledged to protect and defend those rights, liberties and securities that every American enjoys. Today we salute veterans for their selfless and patriotic service,” said retired Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich. He is currently the director of the Ohio Dominican University’s PATRIOTS Program.

Laich’s quote set the tone for the event as the Defense Supply Center Columbus’ workforce and family members gathered Nov. 2 to honor veterans’ contributions to our nation during the installation’s Veteran’s Employment Program.

The 338th US Army Reserve Command Band provided a service medley selection and Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime associate Annette Peaks sang the National Anthem. Additionally, Land and Maritime associate Wynueco Washington provided a spirited instrumental rendition of God Bless America.

Speaking on behalf of DLA Land and Maritime commander Michelle Skubic, Land and Maritime Chief of Staff, Griff Warren, provided welcome remarks. After acknowledging the significant veteran presence among the DSCC workforce, Warren introduced Laich to the audience.

A previous speaker at DSCC, Laich assured the audience he’d be brief in his remarks as he recounted a humorous incident from his first active-duty speaking experience. With the audience at ease, Laich drew on the historical importance of military service dating back centuries to 1777 at Valley Forge and the fledgling Continental Army.

Identifying veterans as neither heroes nor victims, Laich reminded those in attendance that veterans are very special people. As part of the veteran community, Laich said that the difference with being a veteran is that, the veteran’s heart compels their service and commitment. “These are special people whose sacrifice preserves democracy for the rest of the world,” he said. He explained that Veterans demonstrate a commitment that many people don’t understand and provided a few examples that linked service and action.

He spoke on the principles of Teamwork, Technology and Globalization to emphasize his point about the commitment and versatility of veterans. “Each of these attributes are demonstrated by veterans in their unselfish actions through their service and mission execution,” Laich said.

“Connecting and translating these attributes to the civilian workplace is a challenge that we must respond to today to help our veterans participate in our nation’s economic benefits.”

As the PATRIOTS Program director, Laich also spoke intimately about the successes veterans have experienced through higher education. Citing documented veteran educational statistics from the Ohio Dominican University, Laich spoke of his personal desire for veterans who were initially told they weren’t college material. “I wish that one of these students would take their college diploma back to their high school counselors and have a face-to-face conversation with them and show that they always possessed more potential than what was initially told to them.”

Laich shared his viewpoint that citizens of the United States fully acknowledge the service and sacrifice veterans make to their country and communities. “Veterans are an American treasure, they enrich our communities, schools and employers and I salute the efforts to recognize that here at DSCC,” he said.

Anthony Stone, DLA Land and Maritime EEO Veterans Employment Program Chair and Teri Hilton, Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s EEO Veterans Employment Program manager, presented Laich with a Vietnam Service pin and proclamation during a special presentation honoring his service. Additionally, 19 veterans were recognized with the same award both in person and by name for those who couldn’t attend. The audience showed their appreciation for their service by offering a standing ovation.

The 338th US Army Reserve Command Band closed the program by performing a salute to all veterans with a crisply played service medley and the audience again expressed their appreciation with prolonged applause.

A Veterans Employment/Education Fair took place immediately after the Veterans program.