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Remembering Our Veterans

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From Russell Clayton, Sourcing Manager—PLDP, Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters, Co-Chair, Veterans Leadership Council

Veterans Day holds a special place in my heart. For nine years, I served as a Captain in the United States Army, Corps of Engineers and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.The diverse experiences I’ve had in the military have played a tremendous role in my life both personally and professionally. In the military, I learned not only about the value of discipline and teamwork in reaching a common goal, but also how to lead others. Today, as the co-chair of the Veterans Leadership Council (VLC), one of our affinity groups here at Johnson & Johnson, I can also say with great pride that Johnson & Johnson has a long legacy of serving and empowering its many employees who have served, and continue to serve in the military.

Johnson & Johnson employees volunteering through military service is a tradition that began in 1898 with the Spanish American War when two employees in the U.S. volunteered to serve in the military. One of those employees had just been hired at the Company, but felt it was his patriotic duty to serve his country, which the Company supported fully--even paying the employee’s salary while he served (today the Company pays the difference between the J&J and military salary).

Today, one of the ways Johnson & Johnson supports its employee veterans and their families is through the VLC. With over 600 members throughout the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in the U.S., consisting of both employee veterans and other employees who believe in the group’s mission, the VLC works to:

  • Raise awareness of military family members within Johnson & Johnson or employees who are currently deployed to look for ways to better support them
  • Partner with local community and national organizations on events, programs and initiatives to support veterans and military men and women who are currently deployed.
  • Coach Johnson & Johnson leadership on the diverse talents that veterans can bring to Johnson & Johnson to increase recruitment and retention of veterans within the Company.  For example, long-time supporter and Army veteran, Alex Gorsky, Vice Chairman, Executive Committee recently participated in a Veteran event sponsored by Crain’s Chicago.

This year, Johnson & Johnson has taken its commitment to supporting and honoring veterans further through a new partnership with American Corporate Partners (ACP).  ACP is a New York-based nonprofit that offers free career counseling and mentorship to returning veterans and spouses of wounded or deceased veterans by senior professionals from some of the finest corporations. Approximately 50 Johnson & Johnson senior executives based in California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. will serve as mentors to these veterans.

On this Veterans Day, I’m also inviting employees at our New Brunswick campus to participate in a host of activities at Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters (WHQ). In light of our 125th Anniversary this year, the focus of our Veterans Day celebration will be on highlighting our employee veterans and the many products we’ve provided to the military throughout our history through military-inspired exhibits, information tables and video.

Veterans Day to me is really about recognizing our veterans and the sacrifices that they have made for our country. I’m sure just about every employee of Johnson & Johnson and everyone reading this blog knows someone who is serving or has served, so we all have an underlying common bond in honoring these veterans.

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