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In Honor of Veterans Day, Target’s Military Families Share Their Proudest Moments

Across the country, Americans are getting ready to commemorate Veterans Day in lots of ways—from participating in ceremonies, to volunteering in their communities, and above all, thanking veterans for their service.

Here at Target, we honor those who have served our country all year long. As a member of the Veteran Jobs Mission, we’ve pledged to hire more veterans and their spouses—thousands have joined our team each year since 2014—and we offer benefits for activated reservists. Our company has contributed more than $2 million in support of active service members, veterans and their families over the past two years, toward programs and partners such as Operation Gratitude, USO and others.

And as a special thank you to guests, we’re proud to offer a 10-percent military discount on purchases made in-store and online at Target.com from Nov. 4-12, for the second year in a row. Visit Target.com/military to learn more and get the offer.
click to learn more about our 10%25 Military discountMany of our team members are active volunteers, working with partners like The Mission Continues to thank military members for their service and help those returning from deployment transition to civilian life and careers. At our Minneapolis headquarters, they stay connected through our Military Business Council, a network of team members focused on providing support for service members, their families and friends before, during and after deployment. The council also helps Target identify opportunities to better serve job candidates, team members and guests with military connections.

Meet a few of our military team members and their families and friends.

LaDarryl in uniform holding his award

LaDarryl J. Woods
Store Team Leader, Indianapolis, Indiana

Military ties: LaDarryl has served 19 years as an Infantryman in the Indiana National Guard, and is currently an Operations Sergeant Major. During his service, he assisted with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and floods in Indiana. He deployed overseas to both Bosnia and Iraq, and was awarded the bronze star for his performance in Iraq.

Joined Target: Right after high school as an Electronics team member—and 19 years later, he’s worked here ever since. “I simply enjoy what I do, day in and day out.”

Proud moment: “Seeing the military receive recognition for all their sacrifices means a lot to me. It’s extremely tough leaving your family for extended periods of time to fight for our nation. I’m proud to work for a company that offers a discount in honor of Veterans Day. It helps to alleviate financial strain during the most joyous time of the year.”

Skills learned in service that he brings to work each day: “I’ve learned how to motivate others to accomplish and attain goals, to never accept defeat, and to adapt quickly when things aren’t going according to plan. It’s also important to embrace the good times and the bad, because both help you grow as a leader.”

Lauren and her friend in uniform

Lauren Belland
Target Security Specialist, Corporate Security Services, Minneapolis

Military ties: She joined the Army National Guard as a senior in high school as a Military Police Officer. She deployed twice—first to Bagram, Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013, and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2017, in a team leader role. “I’m extremely proud of my unit’s excellent work during both deployments, and that we conducted ourselves in such a manner to receive unit citation awards for exemplary service.”

Joined Target: Three-and-a-half years ago as a member of the Corporate Security team after working in a contractor role. “I’ve always known Target to be a great company and a great place to shop, so it was an easy choice.”

Skills learned in service that she brings to work each day: “Teamwork. Knowing that in order to accomplish the mission, we all need to work together—and regardless of titles or ranks, everyone plays a vital role. I’ve learned to work with people from all walks of life, to be understanding and accepting of everyone’s background, and to lead others, but also be a good follower.”

Volunteer projects: “I’ve worked with The Mission Continues, an organization that equips current and former military members to volunteer in the neighborhood towards education and community improvement. I’m also an active member of Target’s Military Business Council.”Chris and his family at a pumpkin patch; Chris using a piece of equipment while on duty

Chris Schendel
Store Team Leader, Centerville, Utah

Military ties: Chris graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force, and served 10 years as a battlefield meteorologist across 11 countries and 14 states. “One of my proudest moments was having the honor of deploying with the 101st Airborne ‘Screaming Eagles’ Division to Kandahar, Afghanistan, supervising personnel responsible for the meteorological support of 199 Army helicopters and unmanned aerial systems assets. I met my wife, Kelsey, on a temporary duty assignment for advanced weapons training in preparation for my deployment, and now we’re the proud parents of three little girls: Kaila (9), Lily (5), and Avery (2).” 

Joined Target: “After Kelsey received orders to Hill Air Force Base in Utah, we decided I would separate from active duty and find work as a civilian. I wanted to work for a company that stressed the importance of integrity and team in the same way my military career had, and that’s when I found Target. Our team-centric culture highly correlates to the Air Force’s ‘mission first, people always’ focus. I have as much pride in my red and khaki as I did wearing my Air Force uniform.”  

Skills learned in service that he brings to work each day: “My time in the military solidified my leadership skills and gave me the confidence in myself to lead in high stress situations. Not that leading a combat mission in Afghanistan is the same stress level as a typical day at Target, but those moments walking the store with Chief Store Officer Janna Potts and the team during the holiday shopping rush definitely got my adrenaline pumping the same way as some of those combat missions!”   

Veterans Day traditions: “Taking the time to be with family and friends to celebrate the freedoms we all enjoy is the ultimate way of giving thanks to those who have served, and those we’ve lost along the way. A simple thank-you goes a long way!”

Emily and her family holding signs to welcome Jared home

Emily Olson
Senior Product Development Scientist, Owned Brand Foods, Minneapolis

Military ties: A five-year Target team member, Emily and her husband, Jared, an 18-year member of the Air National Guard, are raising three kids, Adeline (5), Abram (3), and Isaac (1). “Jared is currently serving as a Civil Engineer in the 185th Air Refueling Wing out of Sioux City, Iowa. Last year, he was deployed to Djibouti and Somalia, Africa, for seven months—with the kids so young, it wasn’t easy.”

Proud moment: “Jared is part of a mission larger than himself, and by supporting him, our whole family is a part of it as well. We’re teaching our children about purpose and supporting the community through his example.”

Biggest challenge: “Managing our home and the kids when Jared is out of town. He has guard drill weekend duties once a month, goes on a two-to-three week training or service trip once a year, and can be called up for a deployment every few years. It’s teaching us all resiliency, strength, and to purposely inject joy into stressful times.”

Support from her Target family: “My team was amazing during our recent deployment—they went above and beyond with both big things (like taking my kids to activities, helping with house maintenance, and providing meals) and small but meaningful things (like gifting us recordable story books, dropping notes at my desk or giving me little gifts to make my day more joyful). I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of a team that rallies around each other when someone’s in need of encouragement and support.”

Volunteer projects: “I participate in Target’s Military Business Council events when I can. Jared also works with an organization that helps veterans find civilian jobs, and coaches them on their resumes and interview skills.”

Mike stands in uniform with his wife in front of flags; Mike and several companions in uniform while on duty

Mike Milano
Senior Director, Upstream Distribution Center, DeKalb, Illinois

Military ties: Mike spent 33 years on active duty in the United States Army, leading combat units from platoon to Brigade Combat Team level around the world, as well as commanding two premier training installations and retiring as a Major General in 2012. Among many career highlights, he was stationed on the old East-West Germany Inter-German border when the Wall came down in 1989; deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998 to enforce the Dayton Peace Accords; served three years in leadership roles at the Pentagon, three years deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and led as Commanding General one of the Army’s Basic Combat Training Centers at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. “Being entrusted to lead our nation’s most precious resource—the men and women who choose to serve their country—is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I’m grateful for the privilege.”

Joined Target: Six-and-a-half years ago, after meeting a fellow team member who recommended him to the role. “I’m proud to say that I’ve gone from one values-based organization, the United States Army, to another in Target.”

Skills learned in service that he brings to work each day: “Leading teams—motivating, engaging, inspiring, and providing purpose and direction, oftentimes under remarkably trying circumstances and conditions; and, sometimes dealing with devastating adversity and overcoming that for the sake of completing a mission.”

Veterans Day traditions: “I like to make myself available to talk to kids about what it’s like to serve, what it meant to me to have had such a rewarding career in the Army, and to help our communities learn what service and sacrifice are all about.”

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

This story was originally published on Nov. 2, 2018.

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