Premium content from Atlanta Business Chronicle by Nathan Smith; Date: Friday, December 9, 2011, 6:00am EST
Three of the 30 chiefs came down to [King] David to the rock at the cave of Adullam … At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord … “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.
Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.
1 Chronicles 11:15-19
It’s easy to read about an ancient event and dismiss the relevance to us 3,000 years later. Philistines? Kings? Caves? Yeah, OK. Let me check my iPhone for that. Mighty men? You must mean guys dressed in tight pants, scuffling over a leather ball. In a culture where voyeurism is counterfeited as reality and consumption often elbows out contemplation, it is still surprising that once-heroic ideals of bravery and self-sacrifice might struggle for relevance today.
The fact is that mighty men and women do exist, and America has more than her fair share of them — many on daily missions behind enemy lines. But, if we are honest with ourselves, these men and women often don’t really look very mighty at all. They can be quiet and unassuming and rarely match the Rambo stereotype often seen on the big screen. Surely these men and women cannot be mighty — they look like us.
When we lift the veil and look closely and carefully, only then do we notice that a lot of our brave men and women are facing daunting re-entry challenges:
33,000 combat-wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.
6,000 dead from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Only 10 Medals of Honor awarded (seven of them postmortem).
107,000 homeless veterans.
1 million unemployed veterans.
King David got it right. There are business leaders today that are getting it right, too. Hire Heroes USA was founded in 2007 by MedAssets Inc. President and CEO John Bardis because he valued the opportunity created for him by generations of veterans, and he believed that they deserved the same opportunity to achieve the American Dream. At Hire Heroes USA we help “Create the Opportunity” for unemployed veterans by eliminating barriers to employment.
Our staff members personally assess veterans, help them to create effective résumés, and guide them in their job search. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of corporate partners have stepped forward to help us, resulting in a Hire Heroes USA-assisted veteran hired every business day over the past year. Imagine what the impact would be if every business in America committed to hiring one unemployed veteran in 2012.
This commitment should not be a hard sell. I personally saw the value of veterans every day that I led Marines during two combat tours in Iraq. They were the finest young people that I have ever seen, and they are a national treasure.
There are thousands more just like them, ready to add value at the right position in the right organization. But they need a chance. When we give them that chance — when we “create the opportunity” — it is good for them, it is good for business and it is absolutely critical to the long-term economic recovery of our nation and its continued pre-eminence on the world stage.
We urge Atlanta businesses, large and small, to become a corporate partner to help us maintain the momentum we are seeing on the job placement front. It is worth the fight.