Veterans Day is about more than a three-day weekend to Larry Moench.
This year, his Veterans Day celebration starts early when he marches in the 17th annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade Nov. 9 with other Southern California Edison (SCE) veterans, employees and their families.
“For me it’s an opportunity to thank people who have made the ultimate sacrifice or have served something greater than themselves for our nation and for our freedoms,” said Moench, an Army and California Army National Guard veteran who serves as president of Valor, SCE’s military focused employee resource group.
“It’s a day for me to enjoy the freedoms that we have and reflect on those people I’ve worked with, and those I have served with, who responded to the call.”
For many SCE employees who have served in the U.S. armed forces, Nov. 11 is not only a day to honor those men and women who serve, or have served, their country to protect its freedoms, but also a time for reflection. And though each veteran has a uniquely different and personal military experience, collectively they share an unbreakable bond.
“What I remember most about serving in the military was the teamwork, the sense of selflessness, and the professionalism,” said Kenya Streeter, an SCE senior project manager who works in the NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) Compliance Program Office and served 13 years in the Air Force.
“During Veterans Day, I tend to reach out to former comrades who I’ve served with or befriended across the nation,” she said. “My dad is a Vietnam veteran, so I’ll also check in on him.”
While stationed with the Army at Fort Carson in Colorado, Jennifer Manfre, principal manager, Corporate Communications Digital Media, said her boss, the officer in charge, would take his soldiers to lunch on Veterans Day.
“We would sit around and tell stories,” she laughed. “I’ve continued that tradition as a civilian.”
She will celebrate Veterans Day having lunch with other veterans.
During her eight years of service, Manfre did two deployments, the first to Guantanamo Bay overseeing Cuban-Haitian migrants for humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in 1995. It was during her second deployment to Sarajevo in 1998 where her life changed forever.
“I met my husband while in the service,” she said. “He was an Italian army officer and we met in Sarajevo. We’re a little NATO love story.”
Many of the principles and disciplines veterans developed during military service have stayed with them over the years, and have shaped their character and work ethic.
“The five values of Edison … integrity, excellence, respect, continuous improvement, teamwork, they are and were instilled in me by my military service. That’s the military way,” Moench said.
Streeter agrees. “Meeting a deadline has been ingrained in me since my military days, and working in a team. Everyone’s role is valuable, from the lineman to the president of the company, and taking ownership in what I do matters. Not committing 100 percent is letting my Edison family down."
SCE recognizes the value veterans bring to the company’s success. The company hosts outreach events to assist veterans seeking employment with resume writing and other job searching skills. SCE also partners with local military bases, Veterans Affairs offices, and the veterans branch of the Employment Development Department.
“Our military outreach and hiring has been, and continues to be, a critical component of our recruiting and sourcing strategy,” said Phil Mathews, SCE Talent Acquisition.
“I think it speaks volumes about a company, especially in this day and age,” Streeter said. “There are a lot of unemployed and homeless veterans. No words can convey how wonderful it is to work for a company that hires, supports and showcases veterans in every branch as Edison does.”
“Southern California Edison is the first place I’ve ever worked where they really value my military service,” said Manfre. “At SCE, they value my leadership training, my commitment to service and my commitment to public service.”