DEARBORN - Veterans Day is recognized as a time to remember America's heroes. On Friday, Nov. 9, the Ford Veterans Network Group held a Veterans Day event in the Ford World Headquarters auditorium to honor veterans of all wars for their patriotism and willingness to serve our country.
WWII Veterans were present along with Ford Motor Company executives, dignitaries, military families and Ford employees.
“I am so proud to be a part of this company because I am proud of what we do and how we serve,” said Ziad Ojakli, Ford group vice president, Government and Community Relations. “To everyone here, both employees and retirees, and dealers; thank you for serving. We really appreciate everything you have done for this country,” Ojakli said.
The Veterans Day ceremony included a slide presentation featuring the song American Soldier by Toby Keith along with musical performances by the Dearborn High School band.
Ford employees, who starred in a Ford commercial honoring its military personnel, were also recognized. “I am proud to be a representative of Ford Motor Company. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of today’s event. It is so nice to see some of the WWII veterans represented here today,” said Mike Lewis, representative, Ergo/Safety, Woodhaven Stamping Plant. Lewis also appeared in the Ford commercial that aired during the NBC reality show “Stars Earn Stripes.”
Former Navy SEAL Pete Olsf, who recently separated from the Navy after nearly 10 years of distinguished service within the SEAL teams, discussed the elements that make up an iconic American institution: heritage, hard work ethic, family value and perseverance. Olsf said Ford Motor Company fits the bill in all of these areas. “Ford is a great representation of what it means to be a great iconic American institution,” said Olsf.
On behalf of the Ford Veterans Network Group, Mike Bannister, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Credit Company and Dan Duderstadt, president, Ford Veterans Network Group, presented a miniature replica of the Ford Mustang, signed by Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, to Major General Thomas Cutler, former Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard and Olsf.
The Ford Veterans Network Group was established in 2007 to help develop a corporate culture in which Ford Motor Company employees are valued for their military experience. The group assists employees with preparing for deployments within Ford, and in their personal life, and also supports the families of those deployed Ford employees. The Ford Veterans Network Group currently has regional chapters in Louiville, Ky., Irving, Texas, Nashville, Tenn. and Tampa, Fla.
More than 7,000 Ford employees are veterans, with nearly 700 actively serving in the National Guard and Reserve Forces; they Go Further to serve our country and our communities.
To all of our military branches – Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard – thank you!