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VetNet Is ‘All In’ For Saluting and Supporting Vets And Their Families

April 3, 2017

By Eric Seiverling

To show its support for the men and women who serve and protect our country, Comcast’s Keystone Region held its Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support Ceremony at its Robinson Township office recently.

The event included a buffet-style breakfast, recognition to Comcast employees who currently serve or have served in the United States military, and visits from notable military and government figures including Comcast Sr. Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs and retired Brigadier General Carol Eggert, Pennsylvania State Representative Rick Saccone, and ESGR Southwestern Pennsylvania Chairman Nicholas Krawec.

The event raised awareness for Comcast’s VetNet program, which supports military employees and their families by seeking to hire veterans, providing courtesy internet and cable to military families, and offering support and mentorships to veterans and their families.

“Pennsylvania has the fourth largest number of veterans in the country,” Saccone told the crowd. “Comcast is all in to help veterans because it’s anxious to hire people with good work ethic and good leadership skills. We are a veteran-friendly state.”

With its VetNet program, which started in 2015, Comcast is on pace to hire 10,000 veterans nation-wide by the end of this year. Comcast’s Keystone Region has hired 145 veterans and invested $600,000 to support veterans.

Comcast has also been given numerous awards for its support for military veterans, including being named the top military spouse-friendly employer of 2017 by Military Spouse magazine, the fourth-best military-friendly employer in 2017 by G.I. Jobs magazine, and was named a finalist for the 2017 Secretary of Defense ESGR Freedom Award.

The ESGR Statement of Support Program encourages employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. The first Statement of Support was signed in 1972 by the chairman of the board of General Motors in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

“Our company has definitely made a commitment to the military because they are deserving of our consideration,” Eggert said. “They bring incredible talent to our workforce. It’s events like today that brings everyone together.”

Eggert completed her military career in 2014 as the Assistant Adjutant General for the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Deputy Commandant of the Army War College. She served overseas during a 15-month combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Chief of the Women’s Initiatives Division and Senior Liaison to the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad. She’s received numerous military awards and commendations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. In 2016, the veterans support organization HillVets named her one the 100 most influential veterans in America, and the Philadelphia Business Journal named her one of their 2016 Veterans of Influence.

Now with Comcast, Eggert leads an eight-person team and provides strategic leadership to all aspects of Comcast’s programs and outreach to the military and veteran community.

But the real stars of the ceremony were area military veterans and Comcast employees who serve or have served in the military.

“I’ve been with other telecom companies but I’ve never seen camaraderie like there is at Comcast,” technical operations manager Sabrina Spirito, who spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, said. “I personally want to say thank you to all who make this so easy.”

As inspector general for the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Michele Papakie said she sees Comcast leading the way for companies who support military veterans.

“Reservists are very busy and it takes its toll on employers,” she said. “I can share ugly stories about employers who don’t cooperate with the military.

“But, I also see the beautiful side of it. I tell my son to be proud of his military service because Comcast will take care us.”