On Nov. 9, approximately 50 AOL employees and guests met at the company's main campus in Dulles to honor military veterans and assemble care packages for deployed military personnel.
Attendees enjoyed a pizza lunch, listened to four inspirational speakers, and assembled a record 183 care packages which will be shipped to deployed military personnel identified by AOL employees.
Initiated in 2006 by former AOLer and retired Army Reservist Aaron Hall, the luncheon has steadily grown in popularity and volunteer support with each passing year. The event is hosted by the AOL Military Support Group, an Employee Resource Group that helps the company meet one of its core values: "We are in the business of helping people. Period."
The Wounded to Work Institute, a congressional caucus that promotes the employment, education and training of injured military personnel, also assisted in event preparations. AOL employees donated to the care package drive by purchasing "AOL Supports our Troops" T-shirts which were funded by AOL Senior Vice President of Technologies Mike Manos. Anne Kickert, a sixth grader at Stone Hill Middle School, supplemented the care package contents with her Sweets for Soldiers campaign which yielded approximately 1,500 pounds of Halloween candy donated by students at Stone Hill, Creighton's Corner Elementary and Briar Woods High.
AOL Principal Systems Analyst Emily Jones, co-leader of the Military Support Group and the coordinator of this year's luncheon, stated that "it's so awesome to see AOL and the greater community supporting our veterans who have worked so tirelessly to preserve our freedoms."
Please enjoy the pictures and remember to thank a veteran, on Veterans Day and every day.