Honoring Our Heroes: Target Team Members Share Their Veterans Day Traditions

November 11, 2016 - Article reads in
L to R, team members Abby Rollman, Kenneth Michel and Marvin Hamilton

Across the country, Americans are commemorating Veterans Day in lots of different ways. Some take part in ceremonies, parades and volunteer projects in their communities. Others proudly hang a flag in their home or yard. And for many, the most important part of the day is taking a moment to talk to veterans and thank them for their sacrifice.

Today and all year long, Target honors those who have served our country. As a member of the Veteran Jobs Mission and the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, we’ve pledged to hire more veterans and their spouses (since we started tracking in 2014, we’ve welcomed 7,000+ a year) and we offer benefits for activated reservists. And through our support for programs like United Through Reading and Our Military Kids, we help make sure families stay connected and have the resources they need while their parents are away serving the nation. In fact, Target will contribute $1.5 million in continued support of veterans and their families over the next two years.

Our team members are actively involved as volunteers, teaming up with Target partners like Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues to thank military members for their service and help those returning from deployment transition to civilian life and careers. Many are connected through our Military Business Council (MBC), a network of team members focused on providing support for service members, their families and friends before, during and after deployment. Meet three of our team members who help make a difference.

A head-and-shoulders shot of Kenneth in his Navy uniform

Kenneth Michel
Store Team Leader (STL), Dickinson, Texas

Military ties: After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 2003, he served multiple Navy officer roles, stationed in California and deployed multiple times to far-off places including the Persian Gulf and South America.

Joined Target: Through a Service Academy Hiring Conference in San Diego. “I’m one of the vets Target hired through the Veteran Jobs Mission initiative.”

Favorite projects: “My store sends care packages through Operation Gratitude to deployed service members overseas, and also to Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, as a way to boost morale and encourage perseverance. I’m also a mentor for the University of Houston Veteran Group, helping the students transition to the civilian sector.”

Veterans Day traditions: Visiting the Veterans Affairs Hospital to talk to the vets about their experience and thank them for their sacrifice. “Also, when stationed in San Diego, I would visit the gravesite of a classmate, who paid the ultimate cost while serving in Iraq. To me, it’s a day to pause and appreciate the sacrifices veterans make and acknowledge their contributions to preserve the many freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States.”

A head-and-shoulders shot of Abby in her Army uniform

Abby Rollman
District Team Leader, North Carolina

Military ties: A West Point Cadet and soccer player, Abby became an officer after she graduated from United States Military Academy and worked in the Army’s athletic department.

On supporting her Target teams: “In 2006, when I was STL at the Ft. Hood, Texas, Target store, several of my team members had family deployed in Iraq. The war was intense right then and it was important to stay close to those colleagues during that difficult time and make sure they were OK. The other leaders and I always gave our support and understanding when people needed to take breaks to communicate with loved ones or take time off to make sure children left home were cared for.”

Favorite Project: Working with her store team on volunteer projects to benefit service men and women. “My Ft. Hood team was very involved in United Through Reading, a non-profit that videotapes deployed soldiers reading a book to send their children while Mom or Dad is overseas. It was nice to be able to give back in a way that was meaningful to us. This year, in honor of Veterans Day, our volunteers put together care packages for soldiers in the breakrooms.”

Veterans Day traditions: “I reach out to my classmates and teammates from West Point. We all live in different states and countries now, so it’s wonderful to just take some time to say hello. And of course, I take time on this day to honor the members of my teams at Target who served as well.”

Marvin Hamilton sitting inside a military vehicle during his trip to Kuwait

Marvin Hamilton
Group Vice President, Distribution, Minneapolis

Military ties: A West Point graduate, Marvin served in the Army from 1985 through 1992, stationed around the world including Germany and Korea.

Gets involved through Target: By taking part in events as an MBC member, like a speech he recently gave for The Mission Continues in St. Louis. He’s also advised Target teams and leaders on the kinds of employee medical plans and benefits that would be best to offer service members. And for 17 years, he's participated in many of Target's annual veteran recruiting events and other efforts.

Favorite project: Back in 2012, Marvin traveled to Kuwait with a team of local partners to work with soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s 1/31 Heavy Brigade Combat Team, prepping them to translate their skills to the business world upon return to the U.S. through activities like resume-building and practice interviews. “It was amazing to be a part of a project like this that had never been done before, and being around the troops was like being back with my first family. We worked with more than 1,000 troops, and helped put a significant dent in that team’s unemployment rate.”

Veterans Day traditions: “My daughter and I get on the phone and call all our veteran family members and friends and just say thanks for their service. And if there’s a civic event happening in our community, we’ll definitely go.”

Check out Target.com/military for more about how we support military members, veterans and their families and friends. 

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