SAN DIEGO — Walmart, Sam’s Club and Operation Homefront kicked off their nationwide series Saluting Heroes Together with a community-wide military appreciation event in San Diego on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18.
The event was the first in a series of tributes the organizations are hosting across the country to honor men and women who have or are currently serving, as well as their families.
Earlier this year, Walmart announced that beginning Memorial Day, May 27, the company would offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty through its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment and plans to hire more than 100,000 veterans throughout the next five years. Members from the Walmart People Division department were on hand answering questions about Walmart’s pledge.
“People who join the military have a passion to serve others, are eager to learn and are looking for training and experience,” said Pablo Ceniceros, Walmart store co-manager and army veteran. “After I left the army I was looking for an opportunity to apply the same skills in my community, and that is why I joined Walmart.”
“Since our organization was founded in 2002, we have been committed to helping and supporting our service men and women and their families,” said Jack Chirrick, executive director, Operation Homefront, Calif. “We are proud to partner with Walmart and Sam’s Club and are honored to take part in the Saluting Heroes Together events that will help strengthen community support for those who have served and sacrificed to provide opportunity for us.”
The company’s focus on supporting veterans extends beyond its hiring initiative. The Walmart Foundation has committed $20 million through 2015 to helping veterans and their families make the transition from the military into the civilian workforce through programs that provide job training, support and education. In late 2012, the foundation awarded a $750,000 grant to Swords to Plowshares in California. The grant increased job training programs and is expected to support 700 veterans in underserved areas of the state.
“We as Americans owe our military service members a great debt. I applaud Walmart for taking concrete steps to help our veterans transition into civilian life,” said San Diego councilmember Lorie Zapf. “The commitment to provide a job to every recently discharged veteran will make a big difference in the military community.”