"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Disney Is Hiring Heroes

Haters beware, this post is going to be so pro-Disney, even pro-Walt Disney Company corporate, that you may just want to bail out now.

Disney has done something that hits me at home and makes me not just happy, but proud to be dropping thousands of dollars their way this summer. Today, Disney announced the Heroes Work Here initiative. Here's a short piece of the blog post from Disney explaining what the initiative entails,

Disney will:
  • Provide at least 1,000 jobs, career opportunities for returning U.S. veterans over the next three years.
  • Support military families, veterans transitioning into civilian life.
  • Launch a national public awareness campaign to encourage job opportunities for veterans.

The logo alone almost brought tears to my eyes. Disney, built upon the story of imaginary heroes defeating imaginary villains, is recognizing real true-life heroes and the value they can bring. I'm thrilled at the way they go about explaining this, not as some welfare, let's all be kind to the poor dears, affirmative action program, but as a logical and smart business practice. Veterans are trained leaders, they know how to do the most with the least and they tend to have a strong work ethic. They have character, having volunteered for a duty that could very well have killed them or left them maimed for life. These are people you want working for you, and as a bonus for the Disney Company, they allow it to boast of having not only imaginary heroes like Prince Charming and Flynn Ryder greeting their guests, but real ones, ones the children can see are just like their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. The value in that is unmeasurable.

My father is a Vietnam Vet. He came home to a country that acted ashamed of him. There were no parades. The movies made about him portrayed him as a psycho at best and a monster at worst. His fellow vets were spit on and called baby-killer. My mom told me my dad was a hero, but it took decades for the country and the culture to even grudgingly admit that he deserved some thanks. The toll that takes on a man, even one as strong as my dad, is hard for us who've not had to experience it to understand.

I remember when the first Gulf War started, my dad was glued to the TV until all hours of the night. I thought he was upset about the country getting involved in another war, and he was, but not for the reason I assumed. My dad said he was worried that if we got into another war, the men and women would be treated by the country on their return the way he was treated. He didn't want to see that happen to anyone else.

That never happened, the Gulf War vets were welcomed home as heroes and we have treated all our vets in the conflicts that followed the same way. Sure there are the throw-back anti-war folks, but even they haven't in large part attacked the vets. Good. We learned. But to see a company as huge as Disney, as much an integral part of our American cultural identity as Disney is, embrace veterans as valuable contributors to civilian society really made me proud.

Are you seeing this, Dad? I know it'll make you happy. And thanks to ALL the heroes, but especially mine.

1 comment:

  1. I've come back to read this post for the fourth time now, and still can't really put into words what I want to say about it. But I'll try. You, Jeffrey, have the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known. It surprises me not at all that your are as big a Disney fan as I am. I love that Disney has launched this program, and I love it more because now I know what chord it struck with you. I love you for sharing this, and for being the son, husband, brother, father and friend that you are.