Sandia LabNews

Veterans Day celebration honors service members

Sandia awarded Platinum Medallion by HIRE Vets program

Image of Veteran's Day Celebration 2021 at Sandia National Labs
CHAMPIONED — The Veterans Day event was organized by Sandia’s Military Support Committee, which supports and engages veterans, active military personnel, guardsmen and reservists, along with nonmilitary employees who have family members deployed.

Sandia leadership expressed gratitude to past and present military service members during a special virtual ceremony in recognition of Veterans Day.

Sandia’s Military Support Committee organized the annual event.

The ceremony began with The Star-Spangled Banner as recorded by the Sandia Singers, a volunteer choral group.

Brian Carter, executive director for Sandia’s Human Resources and Communications division and executive champion of the Military Support Committee, next thanked Sandia’s many veterans for the contributions they make at the Labs. He then announced that Sandia has received the Platinum Medallion award through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans program. HIRE Vets grants the award to organizations showing exceptional achievement in veteran employment. About 10% of Sandia employees are veterans.

Image of Army Maj. Gen. Heidi V. Brown
HONORED — “I believe you have positively impacted the lives of all Americans, and they should be — and I certainly am — grateful,” retired Army Maj. Gen. Heidi V. Brown said during Sandia’s livestreamed Veterans Day celebration. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California and Col. Jason Vattioni, commander of the 377th Air Base Wing and installation commander at Kirtland Air Force Base, also took turns thanking Sandians for their contributions to the nation in recorded statements.

The keynote speaker was Maj. Gen. Heidi Brown, a retired Army officer who, in the course of her career, broke down gender barriers, such as being the first woman to command a combat arms brigade. Most recently, she served as director of global operations for the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Among the inspirational stories she related were her professional experiences learning about missile defense and the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission. She said in preparation for this Veterans Day event, she read 70 Ways Sandia has Changed the Nation and grew appreciative of Sandia’s work in these and many other national security fields.

“I read through the document several times. What you and the men and women before you have done to safeguard the nation is incredible. Prolonging the life of our nuclear weapons resonates with me knowing what I know now,” she said.

“The more I read about Sandia leading up to today,” Brown said, “the more I learned not just about how you really changed our nation but how much what I did through nearly 36 years of serving in uniform was influenced by you.”

The event concluded with the anthems of each of the U.S. military branches.

Because the event was held virtually, veterans are invited to contact the Military Support Committee to receive a commemorative challenge coin, a Sandia Veterans Day tradition.

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