Some 70 U-Haul Team Members extended their warmest and sincerest thanks through handshakes, caring pats on the shoulder and triumphant thumbs-up gestures over three miles of sun-drenched streets Nov. 11 at the 2016 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
U-Haul Company’s presence in the 20th annual event, held just a few miles north of U-Haul corporate headquarters, is nothing new. But affection for the Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans seems to grow each year among the estimated 45,000 parade spectators.
Six U-Haul trucks donning the U.S. Armed Forces SuperGraphics were received with smiles, waves and applause while Team Members handed American flags to children and hand-messaged greeting cards to veterans. The cards were designed by Gold Star mother and artist Katherine Cross.
Approximately 2,400 miles away, U-Haul marketing company president Jeff Sonberg served as an escort for the grand marshals of America’s Parade in New York City. He was asked to fill that role by the United War Veterans Council.
U-Haul continues to make helping veterans a focus of its charitable partnerships, and its efforts in recruiting and hiring veterans are recognized on a national level. U-Haul Team Members, many of them veterans, are passionate about this subject and their participation in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. Several took time to share their sentiments after another memorable Veterans Day:
Business Analyst, U-Box
Six years at U-Haul
U.S. Army, E4 SPC. Served eight years; one tour in Iraq. Husband Josh is an Iraq veteran; sister Patricia is an Iraq veteran; mother Carol is an Afghanistan veteran; father Chris is a Vietnam veteran. Family is all Army veterans.
Veterans Day means “thanking all those who served before me, beside me and after me. There is no greater honor then knowing that you are fighting for something much bigger then you. It’s knowing that every day could be your last, but every day you’re proud to get up and stand next to another man or woman fighting for the same thing. It’s that 1 percent of Americans brave enough to put all they have on the line for a complete stranger. You don’t have to believe in war; you don’t have to agree with war; but Veterans Day is a way to stand up and say ‘thank you’ for being willing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing the kids waving and saying ‘thank you.’ They are our future and someday they could be veterans. Knowing that someday they could be the ones protecting my rights is humbling.”
Call Center Recruiter
Six months at U-Haul
U.S. Navy, E6. Served 21 years (Radioman; Information Computer Tech; Navy Counselor). Commands: USS Saratoga, USS Nimitz, MIUW 106, Navcomtelsta San Diego, Commander Carrier Group 7 (staff duty), Naval Recruiting District San Diego, Naval Recruiting District Philadelphia, Naval Recruiting District Colorado, Naval Recruiting District Phoenix.
Veterans Day means “a time to reflect on the sacrifices that my fellow vets and I made for this great country. If I had a chance to do it again, I would be the first one in line.”
The best part of the parade experience is “the kids. I can’t explain the joy I get seeing their smiling faces and shaking their hands. The way they look at us is priceless. That, to me, is the greatest gift and ‘thank you’ I could ever receive. That makes the sacrifices we made worth every minute.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “U-Haul really goes above and beyond when it comes to vets. I am honored to be part of a great team! I would like to thank the Shoen family for your support of vets and for commanding a great company! Go Navy!”
Senior Quality Assurance Analyst
Nearly two years at U-Haul
Army Wife. Husband is currently enlisted in the Army Reserves after serving Active Duty Army for four years.
Veterans Day means “a day that extends appreciation to those who came home to everything but (the admiration they deserved). The brave men and women who served in wars prior to 9/11 were not treated like our men and women in service today. They put their lives on the line just the same and came home to protesters and hate. It is those men and women to whom we owe everything.”
The best part of the parade experience is “being able to shake the hands of the men and women who served to give me the luxury of my everyday rights – rights as trivial as being able to work as a woman. The appreciation in their eyes from a simple, ‘Thank you, sir,’ has become some of the most gratifying moments in my life.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “There are companies who do the same with ulterior motives, but being there firsthand, I saw just how genuine the U-Haul commitment to our service members really is. It makes me feel honored to work here.”
Environmental Health & Safety, Risk Management
Seven years at U-Haul
U.S. Army 1964-1969; Sergeant; one tour Vietnam. Brother and father served in the Army. Family tradition of service in the Army goes back to the Civil War and the Revolutionary War.
He is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. The group forms an honor guard at military burials, helps protect mourners from harassment, and fills out the ranks at burials of indigent and homeless veterans. In addition to attending funerals, the group also greets troops returning from overseas at homecoming celebrations and performs volunteer work for veterans’ organizations such as Veterans Homes.
Veterans Day means “a special day in many ways. I was one of those returning veterans that was called names and spat on when I had my uniform on upon arriving back in the states and my hometown. I got rid of my uniform and adjusted as best I could. Now those memories are part of the distant past and I try to make sure that all veterans are treated with the respect they deserve, and for some, return the pride in having served our county. I try to express our thanks to all who served – not only on Veterans Day, but every chance I have. It is also a day of reflection to remember all my friends that I served with who lost their lives.”
The best part of the parade experience is “getting to shake the hand of so many veterans and thank them for their service.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “The commitment to veterans makes me proud to belong to the U-Haul team.”
Labor Relations Advisor
First Sergeant, U.S. Army (Retired).
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “U-Haul has always been the standard for many organizations to mirror in its attempts and recruiting process in hiring veterans. It was a pleasure and honor to represent our organization during the Veterans Day Parade. Our Team Members were dynamic and full of energy during the event. They represented well our spirit as one team and the many qualities that our U-Haul family has to offer. Founded in 1945 by a U.S. Navy veteran, our foundation to honor veterans continues to strive in many ways today.
“I was deeply honored to have donned my military uniform again and be a part of a loyal and committed organization displayed by our Team Members. Most importantly, (I appreciate) the support provided by our chain of command for us to continue to participate in this parade and many others as we honor those who have gave so much for our freedom and country.”
Purchasing, Technical Center
One year at U-Haul
U.S. Navy, E-5. Served nine years; Iraq War veteran.
Veterans Day means “a day our country pays tribute to all past and present service members who served their country.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing everyone coming together for one purpose; the selfless gratitude of the veterans when shaking their hand; and seeing the children’s eyes light up when handing them an American flag.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “It’s difficult to find a company that places so much emphasis on veterans.”
Lead Credit Card Processing
33 years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “that we get to thank those who fought for our country and our freedom.”
The best part of the parade experience is “when you see the vets and they smile at you – it gives me a nice feeling. And seeing all the kids with the signs.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “I like the fact that U-Haul does this for our vets. I wish more companies would do the same.”
Legal Administrative Assistant
Six months at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “a day to honor, celebrate and, more importantly, show gratitude to all of the men and women who have sacrificed to serve and protect this great nation and the freedom we often take for granted.”
The best part of the parade experience is “being able to shake hands with some of the most courageous men and women there are.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “I’m very proud to work for an organization that offers such support and displays so much respect for our military.”
Computer Support Specialist Lead
25 years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “the opportunity to publicly thank veterans for their service to our great country. It also means freedom, sacrifice and honor for those who served.”
The best part of the parade experience is “shaking the hands of the veterans watching the parade and seeing the pride in their eyes.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “I think it is wonderful and am proud to work for a company that supports our veterans.”
Department Trainer, Contact Center
Two years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “honoring our veterans, past and present, who have made personal sacrifices for our freedom. Personally, I have members of my family who have served in the Army, Marines and Air Force.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing all the people on the route honoring our veterans. Everyone was very patriotic, cheering and yelling ‘God Bless America.’”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “The commitment is outstanding! We as a company, being started by a veteran, show our belief in our brothers and sisters who served and their abilities to assist our customers.”
22 years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “honoring our veterans. They deserve our respect and gratitude.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. They honor us with their presence by attending the parade.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “Thank you to U-Haul for the continued support of our U.S. military and veterans.”
Account Representative, Utility Billing
16 years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “a day for us to give thanks to all the men and women that have served our country.”
The best part of the parade experience is “the smiles on the veterans’ faces when we hand them a card of thanks.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “I am proud to work for a company that honors those that have sacrificed for me.”
Quality Assurance Supervisor
Four years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “acknowledging the amount of courage our soldiers have, putting their lives on the line for our freedoms. We are able to have so many things due to their willingness to fight for our country.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing how many people attend the event. It was so nice to see some of the vets that were bedridden (at the VA Hospital) be able to come outside and see the parade.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “I hope we continue to support our troops!”
Compensation Analyst, Human Resources
Two years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “a time to truly show those who have served this country how proud we are of them. It is a time to reflect on those who gave all to make this nation the greatest in the world. These men and women deserve our gratitude and sincere thanks – not just today, but every day!”
The best part of the parade experience is “passing by the VA Hospital and being able to pass out a card to every person on the west side of the street in military uniform. It was an honor and privilege to shake their hands, look them in the eye and thank them individually. I actually started to cry.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “One of the reasons I applied to U-Haul was the dedication to the veterans. To me, it is the singular (most important) reason to join this company.”
U-Box Field Support Analyst
Nearly five years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “showing our vets, current servicemen and families that we appreciate their bravery and that we support their every effort in protecting our country. My brother is currently in the Army and my uncle is a veteran.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing all the vets and families coming together for a positive event. This parade shows that we can come together as one community to uplift and support the people that continue to fight for our freedom. What stood out most was how grateful everyone was that U-Haul was there to show support.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “This shows loyalty to making sure all vets feel appreciated for their service.”
Customer Service Manager
Nine years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “a lot to me. My uncles and father are veterans.”
The best part of the parade experience is “seeing everyone come together as one to celebrate those who have risked their lives to keep us safe. Being able to shake the hands of the vets is an amazing experience.”
Contact Center Senior Agent
Four years at U-Haul
Veterans Day means “I have family who are veterans, so participating in the parade helps me show my family and veterans around the U.S. my thanks and gratitude for helping make and keep our country free!”
The best part of the parade experience is “watching the veterans’ faces when we walk up to them and personally thank them for their service.”
Thoughts on U-Haul Company’s commitment to honoring, helping and hiring veterans: “U-Haul does an amazing job. I am very grateful to work for a company that takes pride in our country and the men and women who serve.”