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ERG Spotlight: Supporting Veterans though our Military Veterans Network (MVN)

By Beau H., Content Manager

At Schwab, lending a helping hand to individuals and communities is an important part of our commitment to serving others. For years, initiatives like Schwab Volunteer Week and our Time to Volunteer benefit have given Schwabbies the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and commit their efforts to causes they feel passionate about. With hundreds of virtual and in-person volunteering opportunities to choose from, our people are actively making a positive impact in the lives of people across the country.  

During this year’s Schwab Volunteer Week (April 24 - May 5), members of our Military Veterans Network (MVN) Employee Resource Group (ERG) gathered to volunteer for the 2023 Maricopa County StandDown. This event, which is coordinated by the Arizona Veterans StandDown Alliance, serves U.S. military veterans and their families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness by connecting them to critical support.  

Tammy O., a Sr. Manager and co-Chair of the Phoenix MVN chapter, joins us to discuss the ERG’s volunteerism efforts and details her experiences at the event. 

Why did you become involved with the MVN? 

“As the spouse of a husband who served 30 years in the Military, I decided to get involved in veteran ERGs long before I came to our firm. When the company I worked for was acquired by Schwab, I joined the team here and became a part of this MVN.”  

“In my experience, military family members can often be forgotten or overlooked because they frequently relocate and have to “start over” in jobs. There are a lot of amazing skills that these people bring to the table. I also have a great admiration for the folks that serve our country, and I wanted to be a part of the effort to give them and their families the professional opportunities they deserve.” 

How did you become a Phoenix MVN co-chair?  

“When I found out about the MVN here, I simply joined and kept stepping-up to see how I could help. I now serve as co-Chair alongside Paul R. and Martin C., who have been incredible partners throughout our time in the role.”  

“The three of us have done some really fun things as co-Chairs. We’ve arranged for authors to come and present, we've had a couple of amazing guest speakers join us virtually, and we have been a part of important initiatives and events. All of these experiences have boosted the camaraderie within our chapter and larger ERG.”

 Tell us about the MVN’s history of supporting AZ StandDown events. 

“This specific event is called the Maricopa StandDown (after Maricopa County), and is the largest of its kind in Arizona. Our MVN started participating years ago while under chapter Chair Robert W., but this year was the first time we were able to have it as part of Schwab Volunteer Week.”  

“My previous company is also involved with the event, so it was fun to see familiar faces, catch up, and take pictures together!” 

How did our MVN volunteers get involved with this StandDown?   

“There were so many volunteering opportunities at this year’s event. On the first day, we went out and helped set everything up – so things like transporting, cleaning, and staging all the tables and chairs. We were outside doing all the different things that needed to be done.” 

“On the second day, many of us were stationed at the entrance and assisted with the intake of veterans that filtered in. The event provides many different benefits to attendees, even if they are not experiencing homelessness. So, we were there helping to connect them to those benefits, like medical dental, or vision care - even money counseling and legal help, if needed. For veterans that were experiencing homelessness and needed a roof over their heads, we would act as a personal escort to help them find that resource.” 

Were there any memorable moments from this year’s event? 

“Yes! I met a gentleman named Mr. Charles. He had a lovely New Orleans accent that reminded me of the people I met when my dad was stationed in the south. I started talking to him - he was a retiree and not able to make ends meet. He was just a wonderful human being, and exactly the kind of person we should be serving. Every single individual that came through the event was amazing and left an impression on me.” 

“It’s incredibly rewarding to work together and help these veterans along their path. A couple of years ago, my daughter was visiting and volunteered with me - she still talks about how good, and kind, these people were.”  

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