Veterans Day 2018: 40 Years of Gratitude and Giving Back
At Samsung, Veterans Day is an important time to reflect on the contributions made by American servicemen and women of the past and present toward advancing the cause of freedom. As a company with Korean heritage, Samsung is particularly grateful for the incredible sacrifices made by U.S. military members during the Korean War. To demonstrate that gratitude, we invest in resources and initiatives that benefit veterans and military families both within the Samsung family and beyond.
Throughout Samsung’s 40-year history in the U.S., we have dedicated more than $8 million in scholarships and donations toward initiatives and programs that support American veterans, including the American Legion, Fisher House, the Korean War Memorial Foundation and others.
Recognizing that many of the skills that veterans develop make them valuable, capable employees, Samsung turned the spotlight on three new interns this year: veterans Joe Drury (U.S. Air Force ’08-’16), Louie Terrazas (U.S. Navy ’12-’16) and James Thomas (U.S. Navy ’10-’17). While the responsibilities of America’s veterans can range from saving lives to managing operations worth hundreds of millions of dollars in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, all three new team members found that their experiences in uniform prepared them well for their roles at Samsung.
Thomas, who worked with our Consumer Insights team, found intersections with his military work as an Intelligence Officer. “We do research across all product lines, and the analytical skillset is really similar to what I did in the military, where I made recommendations for operational military commanders based on intelligence research I did.”
Terrazas found that his role in naval project management, for which he was tasked with doing maintenance on electrical equipment, helps him today at Samsung. “In the Navy they want you to be a self-starter and it’s perfect because in my role doing product marketing for audio at Samsung, I think it’s the same,” Terrazas said. “There’s a very similar work ethic in the military and at Samsung in terms of being motivated to do your job and to advance the organization.”
Drury was in Linguistic Intelligence Operations for the Special Forces and joined Samsung’s Product Management group for monitors. “Using quantitative and qualitative analytics to figure out what people are thinking is analogous to what I was doing in military intelligence,” he said.
Drury also credits Samsung’s commitments to Korean War veterans and their family members as a major selling point in leading him to our company. “I got the opportunity in Korea to see that there was a real respect that Koreans have for Americans,” he elaborated. “I got to see the memorial near the Korean Demilitarized Zone for all the Americans that lost their lives there. It was very cool for me to work for a company that values American veterans, especially for a company which originated outside of America.”
While integrating service members has been a priority initiative in 2018, Samsung Electronics America also worked to forge new partnerships with veterans’ groups and bring long-standing ones to new heights:
- In December 2017, Samsung supported the opening of South Carolina’s first Fisher House in Charleston. It was among four new homes built with Samsung’s support, which in total will provide lodging for up to 16 families of eligible veterans and active duty military members at no cost. These homes allow loved ones to be close by while military members receive care at the Charleston VA Medical Center; they join the network of over 70 Fisher Houses operating in the U.S. and Europe.
- In April, Samsung Electronics America’s Human Resources team and the Samsung veteran community joined forces to sponsor a FourBlock career readiness and networking class at Samsung837, our marketing center of excellence in New York City. More than 40 student veterans participated, sharing their experiences and networking with Samsung executives and FourBlock leaders who offered one-on-one mentoring.
- In May, more than 60 Samsung employees participated in the annual Carry the Load National Relay to honor fallen U.S. veterans and first responders and to support their families through fundraising. Team Samsung reached the goal of raising $15,000 for Carry the Load, which partners with nonprofit organizations to provide care for military veterans, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders and their families to honor the sacrifices made by America’s heroes. Samsung employees walked portions of the relay’s New York and New Jersey legs – from West Point, NY to Pennington, NJ – before symbolically handing the baton to colleagues “Carrying the Load” in Pennsylvania and, later, in Washington, DC.
- In June, ten new national scholarship recipients were honored at the 2018 Samsung American Legion Scholars Recognition event in Washington, DC. Each was granted a $10,000 college scholarship for their outstanding academic talent and service to their communities. The Samsung American Legion Scholarship was established in 1996 in honor of Samsung’s appreciation for U.S. veterans who came to Korea’s aid during its struggle against communist forces in the Korean War. Since then, more than $6 million in scholarships has been granted to over 2,000 recipients who are descendants of U.S. veterans. The scholars also made a special trip to the Korean War Memorial, which is maintained in part by Samsung through a $1 million donation to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation’s Maintenance Fund.
- In July, Samsung Electronics America announced a new process for employees to support the charities and causes most important to them. Through our new Community Impact Grant initiative, employees nominate a charity of their choice for a grant of up to $5,000, chosen and awarded monthly. Of the four inaugural organizations nominated, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Scottsdale, AZ-based organization that assists veterans and at-risk children, was awarded the funds.
We’re proud to honor the heroes in our communities not only on Veterans Day but year-round. Our shared history demands it. Whether through fundraising, product donations, skills workshops or corporate mentorship opportunities, we’re constantly expanding our programs and initiatives to honor the veterans at Samsung so they can thrive in their post-service careers today and into the future.