KRA Programs Brighten Vets' Days in CT and SC

For the better part of the last 3 months, KRA has been celebrating 2012 Community Care Day, a company-wide initiative that highlights the joy of giving and sharing good works with customers and neighbors in the communities the firm serves. This year, the company launched a Support Our Troops campaign, and KRA programs across the country rose to the occasion, many times in cooperation with community partners, collecting money and gifts for military personnel here and abroad, hosting special events, visiting Veterans facilities, etc.  Reports have already been published on several successful KRA projects that focused on the well-being of members of the military and their families. Below, are profiles of two very special Veterans Appreciation Day projects:

Greater Hartford, CT – Staff from the four KRA/CTWorks One-Stop Career Centers focused their activities on homeless Veterans, as they were looking to give a little back to area Veterans, and to show their appreciation for their service and sacrifice to our country.  Staff selected two shelters, both of which are operated as transitional housing centers to help Veterans get back on their feet.  Seven KRA staff members, and a staffer’s husband, split up into two teams of four to visit the shelters…the Veteran’s Crossing facility in East Hartford and the Veterans Support Foundation Home in Manchester.  At both facilities, the KRA volunteers provided a delicious home-made lunch to a total of 20 Veteran-residents, complete with a choice of entrees, salad, soft drinks, and dessert.

In addition to the staff who visited the shelters, other KRA staff volunteered by preparing some of the dishes that were served.  According to Kim Staley, KRA Program Manager, “Their culinary talents certainly added to the day’s festivities, and made many of our proud Veterans happy and grateful for the chance to fill up on some great home cooking.  KRA staff at both shelters commented on how rewarding the experience was for them on a personal level, and about the looks on the Veteran’s faces when they saw the hot, delicious food waiting for them. They saw the smiles!”

Other staff contributed by donating money for the purchase of products, and time for the creation of gift baskets filled with toiletries, such as dental and shaving products, body wash and deodorant, cotton swabs, Sani-wipes, tissues, and nail clippers.  Jerry Santostefano, KRA Customer Service Expediter, who himself is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, reported, “I found it very rewarding to be able to speak with these men on their level, to talk about where they were stationed, and what they trained for while in the military.  They were more than happy to open up about their experiences and to share their stories, in addition to stating what their goals were for the future and how they were planning on getting there.  Several of the Veterans told me that they had visited the Hartford KRA/CTWorks office, and how grateful they were for all the services provided to them.  The afternoon we spent with them was one of sharing, caring, laughing, and reflection, and we all left with good feelings, a bit of humility, and a real sense of accomplishment!  A few days later, we received a card from the Veterans with some of the following comments: ‘ You guys are the best … thanks so much…thank you for the nice treat!…the food was wonderful and the gift baskets were great…Merry Christmas to you all!’.” 

Waccamaw Region, SC – KRA/SCWorks One- Stop Career Center staff provided one-on-one WIA Orientations and group Information Sessions at all three offices for the benefit of almost 50 area Veterans and their spouses. The Kingstree and Georgetown Workforce Center events were hosted by Ms. Elizabeth Favorite, Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Representative, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW), along with KRA and other SCDEW staff members. The Kingstree event was also graced by the presence of Mr. Dentist B. Harvin, VFW McClary-Cole Post 6500 Commander/Veteran Services Officer. WIA Orientations/Information Sessions held at the Coastal Workforce Center were hosted by KRA, SCDEW staff, and Scott Perez, Local Veteran Employment Representative Supervisor. Refreshments were provided at all events, while attendees learned about the priority services offered to Veterans by KRA/SCWorks and SCDEW. For those Veterans who were interested, KRA staff provided on-the-spot resume-development and job-application assistance, and set appointments for those interested in being WIA-certified for receiving a full array of employment services.

In another facet of their campaign, staff placed brightly decorated boxes in each of the three KRA/SCWorks One- Stop Career Centers to collect items for their community Support the Troops drive.  Donors were more than generous, filling the boxes with more than 300 items that were shipped to the USO office in Columbia, SC for distribution to the troops.  Too impressive to be omitted, an inventory included: 50 magazines, 45 cans of vegetables, 45 bags of hard candy, 30 crossword-puzzle books, 20 cans of Vienna Sausage, 20 packs of Cheez-Its, 10 deodorant bars, 10 cans of nuts/dried fruit, 10 packs of socks, 10 novels, 10 packs of pens, 10 packs of beef jerky, 10 packs of Holiday cards, 10 packs of playing cards, 10 containers of foot powder, 5 packs of paper and 5 boxes of envelopes, 5 quarts of milk, and 5 packages of all-purpose cleaning wipes!

A few days after the USO received the shipment, Tyra Taylor, KRA Program Assistant, received a thank-you card that read, “Dear Tyra & Employees of KRA Corporation.  Thank you so much for your generous donations to support the troops and military families we serve.  With community partners and friends like you, we are able to continue to fulfill our mission of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families.  Thank You!  Sincerely, USO South Carolina.”