Wounded Warrior Project’s Corporate Partners Amplify Veteran Voices
One of the best ways to honor those who served the country is to listen to their stories. Hearing what they’ve experienced during and after service leads to a better understanding of how to help veteran families and learn what matters most to them.
Every day, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) aims to amplify those voices and empower wounded warriors to live life on their terms. That is done through generous supporters, including WWP’s corporate partners. Companies often choose to partner with WWP because of shared values, but many also have a vast veteran workforce and want to show appreciation, as well as the veterans in their communities.
Johnson & Johnson is one of those companies. As the Official Healthcare Partner of WWP and participant in Carry Forward, Johnson & Johnson employs a large number of veterans and consistently serves military communities.
“At Johnson & Johnson, we are committed to the communities in which we do business, and veterans are an important part of our community both inside and outside of our company,” said Carle Legge, end-to-end platform lead for sports, spine, and shoulder businesses at Johnson & Johnson. “Understanding the stories of military service and life after service aligns with and inspires our employees about our purpose to change the trajectory of health for humanity.”
Johnson & Johnson recently had two warriors speak to its employees to share their experiences in the military, their difficulty adjusting to civilian life after service, and how they got help and began their healing journeys.
The Power of a Veteran's Narrative
WWP celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023, and as the organization has grown, so have the number of warriors and family members it serves. Raising awareness about the needs of post-9/11 injured veterans and their families is the purpose of WWP’s Warriors Speak® team, which is made up of veterans and caregivers who travel around the country sharing their stories of sacrifice and success.
Their stories not only highlight the life-changing programs and services offered by WWP, but the critical impact supporters have had on their lives and the lives of other veterans.
Army veteran and wounded warrior Beth King spoke to Johnson & Johnson employees in a virtual session, sharing her story and answering questions about her service and transitioning back to the civilian world. Beth was wounded in Afghanistan when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter she was in. She injured her spine and has a traumatic brain injury (TBI). She also dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon returning home.
Beth discussed those injuries, both visible and invisible, as well as how getting involved with WWP’s Soldier Ride® changed her world and opened up new doors she thought had closed because of her injuries.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dan Miller visited a Johnson & Johnson facility in Jacksonville, Florida, to share his experiences with employees. Dan talked about the 16 friends who died in combat and the effect that had on him mentally and emotionally. He shared his reluctance to ask for help.
“I thought if I kept my mouth shut, it would go away,” Dan told the audience.
Of course, the pain didn’t go away. As a matter of fact, it got worse – to the point where Dan considered taking his life. Fortunately, he decided to reach out for help. He connected with WWP and was able to build connections with fellow veterans. He found his purpose and a way to deal with the grief by helping other warriors.
For companies that support WWP, hearing the personal stories of how that support has improved the lives of our nation’s veterans is not only a reminder to employees of the sacrifice service members make, but how they’re a part of improving the lives of warriors and their families.
“Our products and services are used in military medicine every day and to treat a variety of health needs and conditions facing the military community,” Carl said. “Beth King and Dan Miller helped to show our employees why they work hard to continue to develop and deliver our products. Beth King had a jaw reconstruction, so she shared her story with the leadership of our craniomaxillofacial reconstruction team. Dan had his vision permanently damaged, and he addressed our Vision Care campus.
“The work our teams do impacts the lives of veterans. We take pride in that and our partnership with Wounded Warrior Project. Together, we know that Johnson & Johnson and WWP are helping wounded warriors and their families to thrive.”
Building Veteran-Friendly Businesses and Opportunities
Another way companies can support wounded warriors and veterans in their communities is by offering employment opportunities, and resources to veteran employees.
“Johnson & Johnson has made substantial commitments to increase veteran, service member, and military spouse career opportunities and recruiting outcomes,” Carl said.
According to WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey, warriors employed by companies offering a resource group or a veteran mentorship program had higher scores of professional fulfillment compared with those employed by companies without such programs.
Helping veterans thrive in the workplace is a priority for Johnson & Johnson, where employees have the opportunity to engage in the company’s award-winning Employee Resource Group (ERG) and the Johnson & Johnson Veterans Leadership Council (VLC). The VLC has over 1,500 members and over 25 chapters across the company and members include veterans, current National Guard and Reserve service members, military families, and allies and supporters.
“Veterans bring these leadership attributes along with technical skills and training that can be applied to our current business needs and challenges,” Carl said. “Veterans are thriving in really diverse roles across our business from sales to supply chain, to human resources, and more.”
Companies that promote veteran employment and provide support and resources for veteran employees are sending a clear message that their service matters, Dan said.
“When companies give their veterans a voice it helps to show the veteran that their employer is proud of them and believes in them and their service,” Dan said. “It allows for veterans to connect with each other within the company, which in turn can promote a sense of Esprit de Corps amongst the veteran workforce. When the veteran knows that the company respects his or her service to this great nation, that veteran/employee will work that much harder to ensure that the company’s mission is a priority.”
Inspiring Others, Inspiring Self: The Dual Benefits of Storytelling
Dan’s ability to share his story with others is not only a way to honor veterans and inform the public but is therapeutic to him as well.
“That veteran relating his or her story is a means of not only remembering the bad times but the good times as well,” he said. “In many cases, this provides a way for that veteran to come to terms with and accept that moment in their lives. If not coming to terms with what they have experienced, it at least opens a door to begin the healing process.”
By amplifying veteran voices and promoting veteran employment, companies can show their commitment to the military community and help transform the lives of wounded warriors and their families.
“We also believe it is important to share the stories of veterans to inspire our employees and business leaders around why we continue to support and hire from the military-connected community,” Carl said. “These stories remind us of the tremendous value that veterans and their families bring to our business and community. We believe that the military-connected community has unique and diverse skills, competencies, and experiences. These experiences and the resilience of this community are showcased when we hear stories from the WWP Warriors Speak team.”
Contact: — Paris Moulden, Public Relations, email@example.com, 904.570.7910
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.