Joe McFarland is a Marine and Desert Shield/Storm Veteran and Lowe’s Executive Vice President of Stores.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our military families for your service to our country. No one demonstrates a more selfless pledge to making home — these United States of America — better for all than our military community. In doing so, military families like you are often on the move and need to recreate a feeling of home in new surroundings.
I am the son of a Marine and Marine Corps veteran myself, so I understand that May is an important time. The nation is recognizing Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day while so many service members and their families are preparing their next Permanent Change of Station (PCS) assignment.
I will always advocate for finding ways to recognize and honor military associates and customers. It is important for companies to demonstrate that they value military service and celebrate associates and customers alike who have served.
Here are some ways national retailers can support military families throughout the year, including as military families prepare for what can be a stressful PCS season:
1. Helping Families Feel #ALWAYSHOME
Retailers can help ease the stress and burdens of relocating while helping military families create that unmistakable sense of home. For example, Lowe’s offers a 10% discount every day — both online and in-store — to active-duty military personnel, veterans and their spouses. This discount saves military families more than $1 billion each year on home improvement projects.
2. Provide Quality Jobs
I know firsthand that transitioning from military service to a civilian career can be challenging. Veterans and their spouses are attracted to employers who support their unique needs during the onboarding process. National retailers are well-positioned to provide quality jobs for a lot of transitioning veterans due to their size and scale, and commitment to the professional development of veteran employees.
Employers of choice for military families are investing heavily in teams that can translate military specialties into current job openings and targeting their recruiting efforts by creating an online presence specific to their military veteran hiring efforts. Retailers also are positioned uniquely to support veteran-owned suppliers through supplier diversity programs and by participating in programs with the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), and Disability:IN. Click here for the military career portal for Lowe’s, which proudly employs nearly 20,000 associates in the military community.
3. Celebrate Employee Service
It’s important to understand the celebration of service does not end when companies hire transitioning veterans or military spouses. Retailers can create special ways to recognize military associates and foster a military-friendly culture. For example, Lowe’s recognizes veteran employees by offering an optional camouflage vest for military associates to wear in celebration of their service.
Military families know better than anyone: No matter how many times you move, you’re always home when you take what matters with you. It is incumbent upon national retailers to continue to honor and support our military families, especially in times of inherent stress.
Thank you for your service.