After a moving speech by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Nov. 18 at the Potomac Officers Club, government-contracting executives went beyond the call of duty, partnering with the Wounded Warriors Project to donate basic needs to soldiers serving abroad.
McChrystal spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Potomac Officers Club, a private organization connecting Washington, D.C.-area luminaries from the government-contracting world. Among others, the audience included retired military officials such as four-star Navy Adm. and former leader of U.S. Central Command William Fallon, and representatives of Wounded Warriors partner companies such as Raytheon.
“Along with our organizations, Bob Seitz and I wanted to do something in honor of the wounded warriors and troops that attended the December Potomac Officers Club meeting,” she explained.
Like many GovCon executives, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Seitz has a personal connection with the cause: He served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.
During the meeting, Seitz asked everyone to participate in the program. All attendees received a card that included the addresses of service members in Iraq and Afghanistan and listed materials soldiers had requested.
The GovCon executives in attendance did not disappoint, sending more than 1,000 boxes to troops. Zimmerman said she was “extremely proud and humbled” that the cause was taken up so enthusiastically.
The efforts may have been small – only costing each participant about $10 – but they were much appreciated by the troops. Soldiers sent their thanks along with pictures of the gifts being opened around the Christmas tree, Zimmerman said.
“Knowing what this community did for those kids, who are protecting our freedom — it makes my heart glow to be an American,” she added. “It’s simply amazing.”
From one warrior to another, McChrystal was introduced in a heartfelt speech by retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Sattler, former director for strategic plans and policy of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sattler, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, recognized firsthand the sacrifices demanded from soldiers in battle.
In his keynote, McChrystal spoke about “standing tall” in support of U.S. troops and thanked those who sacrificed so much for the freedom Americans enjoy. The four-star general most recently led joint U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, the culmination of a 34-year military career.
McChrystal also recognized the contributions of those companies with employees seated in the audience, whose dedication and sacrifice among their own ranks, he said, have helped build one of the most successful militaries of all time.
Since his retirement last year, McChrystal has not missed a beat: He taught a Yale University graduate course on leadership in fall 2010 and was a speaker at the TED2011 conference in Long Beach, Calif. ♦