The Nevada Department of Veterans Services headquartered in Reno (with offices throughout the state) oversees several programs for veterans that are exclusive to Nevada. Examples include select veterans license plates, reduction of property taxes and assistance in filing for federal benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
All of the programs are offered at no charge to the veteran and, as with all government programs, there are eligibility requirements. One Nevada program that is especially unique is the Veteran of the Month award, presented by Gov. Brian Sandoval to deserving individuals who have shown exceptional service to others.
It's a given that while in the military, the men and women who serve must uphold military standards and proudly take on challenges that support the United States. But the Veteran of the Month award is given not for what one did in the military, but rather for what one does after re-entering civilian life. As civilians, it's not uncommon for veterans to put in hours of volunteer work, help raise charitable funds, be active in recognizable service organizations and assist fellow veterans in any way they can. These individuals mostly serve with little or no fanfare, so it's up to others to recognize and nominate them for the honor.
Nominations can be submitted at any time. They are reviewed by a state committee of fellow veterans. Award ceremonies are held in Las Vegas or Carson City, depending on where the veteran resides.
To access the official nominating form, go to www.veterans.nv.gov. (Full disclosure, I once received the award, and I produce news releases for the state's veterans department.)
Concerning employment, depending on age and type of military service, each generation seems to have specific characteristics that companies tend to recognize, rightly or wrongly, to describe workforce tendencies. For example, the local Eastridge Workforce Solutions firm has defined millennials (born between 1981 and 1995) as achievement-oriented, tech-savvy, diverse and creative and flexible.
Sounds like they might make great employees, but what about other generations of veterans who are employed or who are seeking work? For example, could older Vietnam-era baby boomers also fit the above profile? Well, one local woman has her own set of definitions when it comes to those with prior service.
I've often said that there are enough legitimate veterans service organizations to go around, what with the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart and literally dozens of others. But veterans often find support in newly formed niche groups that approach definitive areas of concern and that develop their own methods of qualifications. So it is with the recently formed Veteran Ready, independently headed by National Guard member Annie Emprima-Martin in Henderson. She says that when it comes to helping former members of the military, she uses one of three terms to describe business efforts: veteran friendly, veteran ready and veteran strong.
She defines veteran friendly as businesses that show support and appreciation in many ways, including military discounts, free meals on Veterans Day or participating in job fairs.
Veteran strong is the label she places on companies that know how valuable veterans are, and that harness the strengths that they bring to the workplace going above and beyond with leadership grooming.
Emprima-Martin has chosen veteran ready as the name of her organization. She says such companies take responsible steps to support current and future veteran employees, and implement internal programs for veterans that include diversity training and education regarding applicable federal and state laws. She says that her company mission is to support local businesses and nonprofit agencies through consultation, training and employment services focusing on building up the veteran community.
For more information, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Chuck N. Baker is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Every other Sunday he discusses veterans issues over several Lotus Broadcasting AM radio stations in Southern Nevada.