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The IAVA Heroes Gala: Four Emergent Military Veterans Share Their Experience


November 30, 2017

Emergent's Corporate Social Responsibility (eGIVE) program extends our mission— to protect and enhance life—into the community. One community that has been a pillar of the program is our military men and women who are actively serving or are veterans. On November 9, I had the great honor of attending the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) "Heroes Gala" in New York with four of our own veterans—Ernest Williams, Scott Kelly, Mike Mann, and Kevin Kemp—to honor those who have served during more than 15 years of these conflicts and raise funds for an exceptional organization.

Although this was a fundraiser with many corporate donors such as Emergent attending, there were also hundreds of veterans either experiencing the challenges of transitioning back into civilian life or helping their buddies successfully make that change. Their stories were a heartfelt reminder of the importance of supporting our veterans when they come home. It was an inspiring evening and one that makes me proud to work for a company that is engaged in protecting and enhancing the lives of those who serve.

I asked the veterans who attended on behalf of Emergent to share their thoughts on IAVA and the event in their own words:

"Attending the IAVA Heroes Gala highlighted the importance of care for the military members that provide the blanket of freedom that we all live under and enjoy. I was honored to participate in and witness this well-orchestrated event. I'm proud to know that Emergent supports this incredible organization that supports my military brothers and sisters who suffer with real issues inflicted by their selfless service." - Ernest Williams, U.S. Air Force

"I was honored to represent our company at the IAVA Gala with fellow veterans from other Emergent sites. Over the years, I have attended many veteran organization events and expected the usual mix of patriotism, camaraderie and reverence for the fallen. The gala not only met my expectations, but also broadened my perspective of what veteran life looks like post-9/11. My time as a Marine Infantryman and my participation in veteran organizations after active duty had led me to expect a veteran to be a man who, in their youth, had answered the call to service. Basically, someone who looked like me. That image forever changed in my mind at the IAVA Gala as I listened to a female combat veteran talk about her own experience after active duty and the problems currently facing a growing number of sons, daughters, fathers and mothers for whom the transition back to civilian life has great obstacles, both physical and emotional. I am proud to work at a company that supports a noble cause such as the IAVA and all of those who serve or have served. Semper Fidelis." - Scott Kelly, U.S. Marine Corps

"The IAVA organization and the experiences shared at the event are a true testament to what dedication and teamwork can accomplish. It was inspiring to see the work being done to enhance the lives of veterans who gave so much for us to enjoy the opportunities and freedom we have today. Those supported by the IAVA are our family, they are our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They are a part of our community.”

“I am proud to be a part of a company that dedicates so much time and resources to this and many other organizations that support our veterans, service members and the community at large. Our mission to protect and enhance life can be found not only in what we do throughout the workday, but also in how we provide support off the battlefield. I'm fortunate to have participated in this event and to work with the great and giving people of our company. Thank you all!" - Mike Mann, U.S. Marine Corps

"I was honored to represent Emergent at the IAVA Gala and was very impressed with the compassion and care for post-9/11 veterans. Speakers at the event highlighted problems that are not widely known, but educated us on how IAVA is filling the gap to ensure these veterans are getting the best care possible. I found this to be a worthy cause and one that I am glad Emergent is supporting!" - Kevin Kemp, U.S. Navy

Robert Kramer