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To a passerby, the enormous semi-truck parked outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last Friday might have seemed out of place. But to the Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) initiative, it represented the culmination of the yearlong Transition Trucking campaign, which aimed to connect thousands of veterans with meaningful employment in the trucking industry. And to one U.S. Navy veteran, the shiny new truck represented a powerful business opportunity.
The vehicle was a brand new fully loaded Kenworth T680 truck, with an overall suggested price of $150,000. It was generously donated by the Kenworth Truck Company to be awarded to a veteran who had made an especially successful transition from the military to the world of trucking. The winner, announced on Friday, was Petty Officer 2nd Class Troy Davidson of Pensacola, Florida.
Davidson served as a jet engine mechanic and twice received the Navy Good Conduct Medal. He also received the National Defense Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal. Now that he’s transitioned from the military, Davidson drives trucks professionally and helps train incoming truck drivers. With his own state-of-the-art rig, he will have the opportunity to do more business and boost his income as an owner-operator.
The Transition Trucking campaign was only one of many HOH projects. Since its launch in 2011, the initiative has led efforts in virtually every industry and every state to connect veterans with employers. Just this year, it held its 1,000th jobs fair. These fairs have taken place in all 50 states and at U.S. military bases around the world, linking more than 30,000 veterans with jobs.
Hiring Our Heroes is not just good for our veterans; it’s good for business. Veterans bring discipline, leadership, a strong work ethic, and unique skills to any job. By serving as a link between the veteran community and the business community, HOH benefits both.
At the Chamber, we believe that one of the most important ways to honor the service and sacrifice of our military men and women is to ensure that they have meaningful employment opportunities awaiting them in civilian life. Since Hiring Our Heroes was launched, the business community has been eager to rally around the cause of reducing veteran unemployment. This initiative is one of many reminders that businesses are a force for incredible good in society, and they take a regular and proactive role in solving many of our nation’s most pressing problems.