Veterans Day: Serving Those Who Served
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Veterans Day: Serving Those Who Served

Grand Circle associates hold a toiletry drive and an evening of service for veterans battling homelessness

Sometimes the simplest gifts can be the most meaningful—particularly when the things we often take for granted can make such a huge difference in another's life. Such was the case for Grand Circle Foundation this past Veterans Day, when Grand Circle associates donated thousands of everyday toiletry items to benefit the residents of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV).

Grand Circle Foundation has a special relationship with the NECHV, which serves more than 1,000 veterans a year—veterans who have battled substance abuse and PTSD, and who are now committed to getting their lives back on track. In April of 2009, 130 Grand Circle associates worked tirelessly to renovate the center's main dining hall as part of the Foundation's annual Rebuilding Together Boston event, repainting walls and installing a drop ceiling to reduce heating costs.

This year, on the evening before Veterans Day, 16 Grand Circle associates visited the shelter once again for a community service event. The group distributed more than 300 fully stocked bags of toiletries, which will go a long way toward helping shelter residents stay clean and presentable for job interviews and other appointments as they work to reclaim their lives. The group also served the veterans dinner in the very same dining hall that Grand Circle associates helped renovate the previous year.

In recognition of Grand Circle's commitment toward giving back to the NECHV, the company was honored with a Battlefield Citation Award, which was presented on Veterans Day at the annual Leave No One Behind gala dinner. Grand Circle Vice Chairman Jim O'Brien, a Vietnam veteran himself, accepted the award on behalf of Grand Circle associates. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, Jim served in the U.S. Army Infantry, resigning as a Captain in October of 1965. During his time in the Army, he served as a Ranger Instructor at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and was an Advisor to a Republic of Viet Nam (RVN) Infantry Battalion in 1964 and 1965. He is a passionate advocate for returning veterans who face physical and mental challenges as they reenter civilian society.

It was a moving event for all involved—including the residents and staff at the NECHV. "Thank you for helping to make Veterans Day more festive for the clients in our care," says Steve Cunniff, Director of Community Affairs at the NECHV. "We truly appreciate your generosity and the great efforts you put forth in coordinating this magnificent drive." For the associates who participated, however, the effort was a small price to pay in return to these brave veterans who risked their lives in service to their country.

Featured in our November 2010 E-Newsletter. Read full issue here.