Even though he has been gone for 30 years now, I still think about my Dad almost every day. Veterans Day brings a special reminder.
The holiday invites me to pause and reflect on the young man who—just three months past his 17th birthday, while he was still in high school—joined the Navy in October 1942 to fight in World War II.
I am awed by that young man who, with his whole life before him, dedicated himself to protecting his home, his family, his community and his country in one of history’s most extraordinary conflicts. It was his legacy of service that inspired me to join the Navy myself 38 years later.
And though my father holds such a high place of honor in my life, I know he and I are just two of the millions of men and women across our country’s history who have taken on the mission to protect others.
Together, our United States Armed Services veterans form a community based not on race, creed, color or any other trait, but on our dedication to something larger than ourselves: a shared set of values, a respect for the importance of freedom, and a commitment to our country and to one another.
I experience the benefits of working with our veteran community every day. Veterans of all the services, particularly the “Nuclear Navy,” form the backbone of the entire U.S. nuclear industry, strengthening our operations, engineering, maintenance, and security staffs at nuclear plants all over the country.
Their dedication to the safety of others, which they first demonstrated in their service to our country, translates into the private sector as the careful attention to detail that keeps our nuclear plants running safely and reliably, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Nuclear energy is safe, clean, and reliable in large measure as a result of the contributions of these veterans.
But it’s not just Dominion Energy’s seven nuclear units that honor, value and benefit from our nation’s veterans. All across our enterprise – which spans 18 states and includes approximately 20,000 employees–one in five new hires at Dominion Energy is a veteran.
We make it a priority to recruit, retain and support military veterans and we back up that commitment with internships, our Troops to Energy Jobs program, a veterans Employee Resource Group, generous military leave, salary-differential benefits for those called to active duty, veteran-specific provisions of our EnergyShare assistance program, and the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for nonprofits that help military veterans and their families.
Veterans are steadfastly dedicated to the safety and security of our communities. They have a proven commitment to performing their duties to high standards of ethics and excellence. They are resilient in the face of challenges and they know the value of working as a team.
Like my Dad, veterans remind us of the good that is in everyone. At Dominion Energy, we honor them every day.
On Veterans Day, let’s all pause to reflect on what their service means to our families, our communities, our businesses, and our lives.
Dan Stoddard is a senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for Dominion Energy.