Takeda celebrates Veterans Day
In honor of Veterans Day, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight STRIVE, our TRG dedicated to military-service connected employees.
Unlike Memorial Day — which honors military members who lost their lives in the line of duty — Veterans Day honors all military veterans who are currently serving or have proudly served. For many, Veterans Day has a personal meaning.
“Veterans Day is an opportunity to give my thanks to all veterans who give so much for our nation’s freedom and ask for so little in return. I think of my dad. He’s now 91 and is a Korean War veteran. He proudly wears his Korean War vet baseball cap, and nothing brings a bigger smile to his face than when someone says, ‘Thank You for your service,’” explained Kathleen Gondek, Head of Global Evidence and Outcomes, and Executive Sponsor of STRIVE.
"I think of my dad. He’s now 91 and is a Korean War veteran. He proudly wears his Korean War vet baseball cap, and nothing brings a bigger smile to his face than when someone says, ‘Thank You for your service.’”
To honor and thank veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, STRIVE hosted a variety of events:
Quilts of Valor
On October 26, four Takeda employees, who are also military Veterans, were honored by receiving a beautiful handmade quilt crafted by a volunteer who is associated with the non-profit, Quilts of Valor.
A Quilt of Valor® (QOV) is a quality, handmade quilt that is machine or hand quilted. It is awarded to a Service Member or Veteran who has been touched by war. The Quilt says unequivocally, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.” To use the term Quilt of Valor, Quilts of Valor or QOV, the quilt must be a specific size, must have a label with required information, it must be awarded (it is not a gift) and it must be recorded.
Takeda employees honored with a quilt were Jim Ball, Gerry Doyle, Fred Kuebler, Victor Taubinger, and Kyle Storzbach. Jim McInerney, who is a Vietnam veteran (1963 - 1967) and served in a bombardier squadron was also presented with a quilt. Jim is the father of Sheila Katsafaros, Medical Information Specialist, Medical Affairs.
Fred tells us, “It was an honor to receive my quilt, especially alongside fellow veterans. I’m really humbled when I think about the thought, dedication and work that went into my quilt. I’m truly thankful.”
"I’m really humbled when I think about the thought, dedication and work that went into my quilt. I’m truly thankful."
Victor also received an additional quilt to present to his father who is a Veteran of The Vietnam War.
“I will always remember the Vietnam Veterans’ stories of how badly they were treated when they returned home to the United States,” said Victor. “By awarding my dad a Quilt of Honor [too], it’s my way of welcoming him home from Vietnam and to thank him for his service!”
Rox Harrison, STRIVE's Bannockburn, IL Site Lead, first brought the ceremony to Takeda in 2017, and has spearheaded the efforts every since. Rox's husband, Bob, is a Vietnam War veteran and a recipient of a Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds received during combat -- so the cause is close to her heart.
"It took decades for veterans of Vietnam to feel welcome and open to talking about their experiences. While there were other quilts I presented to veterans, it took a few years for [my husband] to warm to the idea of being recognized. Most veterans respond, 'Oh, I’m not worthy of such an honor,'" she tells us. "Once we ask more about their service, we find so many heroes within our company, at all levels of our company. They’ve served our country with pride and without much recognition and asking for little in return. This is my way of honoring them, paying it forward I guess you could say."
"They’ve served our country with pride and without much recognition and asking for little in return. This is my way of honoring them."
22K Pushup Challenge with Homebase
Every day, an estimated 20 veterans are tragically lost to suicide. That’s why Homebase and PTC sponsor a 22K pushup challenge to bring awareness to the very real struggles veterans face every day, with a goal of raising $100,000 across all teams participating. This will be Takeda’s second year participating in the challenge.
Funds raised through this campaign will go towards Home Base's two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) for Families of the Fallen - a program for spouse and parent survivors of military suicide - and Home Base's four-day intensive Comprehensive Brain Health and Trauma (ComBHaT) program - a program designed for Special Operators.
We are proud to see Takeda employees rallying around a cause that affects so many.
Veterans Day Ceremony
STRIVE also hosted a hybrid Veterans Day Ceremony with special guest Caroline Johnson, former Navy F/18 Aviator, best-selling author and leadership expert. During the sessions, she discussed how her service in the US Navy prepared her to achieve the impossible, her experiences as a woman in the military, and how she is helping to empower the next generation.
Thank you to all the veterans for your service, and a special shout out to STRIVE for providing a safe space for our military-connected employees to come together. Thanks to the unique experiences of all our employees, we are able to work together to create a brighter future for the world.
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