In 2014, we started a new program for our employees called NDI Gives Back. Our goal with NDI Gives Back is to challenge each NDI employee to go out into his or her community and make a difference. Each of our employees has been given 8 paid hours to volunteer their time to an organization of their choice. The only requirement is they have to come back and share their experience with the rest of the company.
I had the very nice pleasure of using some of my NDI Gives Back hours last month, and it was an experience I will never forget.
On June 24, I went to Dulles Airport and personally greeted 72 veterans who had just arrived from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The average age was 85 and every single one of them served overseas during WW2.
There were over 100 greeters there that morning through an organization called the Honor Flight Network. The Honor Flight Network flies veterans from all over the country to visit our nation’s capital. They go to the WW2 Memorial and Arlington Cemetery. Each vet has a guardian provided by the network who is with them the entire day.
They also try to have as many greeters at each stop to shake their hand, thank them for their service or just give them a hug. My very good friend Stephanie and her family are very involved with the network. She is the one who invited me to Dulles that day.
My grandfather took the honor flight last year. I’m so grateful he had the opportunity to do this when he did. He is now in the late stages of dementia and would not be able to make the trip now.
I was blown away by the raw emotion shown by these men (and 1 woman!) who served our country. I saw tears, lots of smiles and more than anything, gratitude. They were thanking ME for being there to greet them. I was speechless.
One vet turned to me and asked, “Isn’t is great to be an American?”
Yes sir it is.
I can’t wait to go back to greet another flight. Next time, I will take my boys. They need to see firsthand what the Greatest Generation is all about.
If you’d like more information about this great organization, please visit the Honor Flight website.
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