DEARBORN - From liberators in Kuwait, United States Navy Seals who protect our seas, to World War II soldiers who stood in the line of battle, they were all honored Friday at Ford's Veterans Day celebration at the Ford Word Headquarters.
"Without our veterans we wouldn't be here today," said Vice Adm. Dirk J. Debbink, Chief of Navy Reserve Commander, who was the keynote for the celebration.
"From the assembly line to the test track, Ford is a company that honors its country," said Adm. Debbink. "This is a company that not only honors the service of its employees but also honors the service of the U.S. military."
Ford Motor Company and its employees stand on the front line when it comes to showing their support to U.S. troops. Made possible through care packages and donations from organizations and events - Ford Veterans Network Group, The Ford Volunteer Corps, Ford Operation Drive One, and Americans Thank our Troops - Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services has donated more than U.S. $6 million to veterans’ organizations since 1974.
These efforts played a role in helping Ford receive the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in recognition of the support it provides its National Guard and Reserve employees.
According to Debbink, the Freedom Award recognizes companies that go above and beyond to support troops - and that’s what Ford does in the community, workplace and home front.
Dozens of service men and women were present at the celebration, including George Shouse who was a member of the D-Day invasion and was later awarded the Bronze Star for destroying German ME-109's.
"I'm honored to be here with everyone who deserves it," said veteran Shouse, who was a Ford maintenance control engineer for 37 years. "I appreciate what Ford did."
Ford has a long history of supporting its veterans and military personnel dates back to 1922 when Henry Ford organized a cross-country caravan of 50 Model T’s to take disabled veterans to their convention in San Francisco. Currently there are nearly 30 Ford employees who are actively serving in the military. Ford employs approximately 700 U.S. Reservists and Guardsmen, along with more than 7,000 U.S. veterans.
"A company's actions speak louder than words and Ford Motor Company goes the extra mile and then some," said Adm. Debbink.