March 14th, 2013
Supporting our Troops and Veterans: From Facebook to the Front Line
A few weeks ago Johnson & Johnson received a Facebook message from Donna McAndrews, a soldier currently serving overseas in Afghanistan. She wrote about the difficulties of women in uniform to feel feminine, explaining that supplies can be scarce. I didn’t hesitate when Donna requested a care package because, as a veteran, I remember how much those donations meant to my unit when we were overseas. It’s something you never forget. Thanks to the help of our Johnson & Johnson Veterans Leadership Council ( VLC) volunteers, we were able to send out five large (and heavy!) boxes full of Johnson & Johnson beauty and health care products to let these ladies know they have friends at Johnson & Johnson who care about them and appreciate their service.
The Veterans Leadership Council is one of ten Diversity and Inclusion employee resource groups at Johnson & Johnson. Our mission is to support Johnson & Johnson military and veteran associates and their families through a network of employee volunteers, who contribute their time outside of their regular job responsibilities. VLC programs focus on our three main pillars — people, community, and marketplace — by helping military members transition to civilian life, getting involved with our veteran communities, and bringing business value to Johnson & Johnson.
In addition to the packages we sent to Donna and her team, we host internal care package drives on a regular basis. On Veteran’s Day 2011, we donated 1,500 care packages to Afghanistan and Iraq through Operation Gratitude, and recently Johnson & Johnson employees in locations throughout the U.S. were able to donate online through our company store during our 4th of July and Veterans Day Care Package Drive campaigns. We are proud to support Donna and all of our service men and women, and the VLC has programs in place to show them support not only overseas, but also to help them succeed when they return home.
I have been a part of the VLC since I joined Johnson & Johnson in 2010 and became National Chair a year later in August of 2011. The mission of the Veteran’s Leadership Council is to drive value at Johnson & Johnson and help the businesses in turn, see the value in supporting veterans. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to make a difference in an area we’re passionate about. Donna and her unit expressed their gratitude when they received our care packages by sharing a few photos. As you can see, the smiles on their faces make the effort – and all we do every day – worthwhile.
Russell Clayton is a Senior Manager of Supplier Governance for Johnson & Johnson’s Supply Chain division and the National Chair of the Veterans Leadership Council. His pride for the military stems from his own experience overseas. Russ graduated from West Point in 1999 and served for nine years in the US Army to include Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.