For their service
USO of Metro NY honors Raytheon CEO for support of military members
The USO of Metropolitan New York honored Thomas A Kennedy on Dec. 12, presenting the Raytheon chairman and CEO with its USO Distinguished Service Award for his continued service and dedication to service members and their families.
“Raytheon is by the side of our veterans, service members and their families, just like the USO is always by their side,” Kennedy said, speaking to more than 1,000 supporters and guests at the organization’s 57th Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in New York City.
Five U.S. service members were also honored at the event, receiving the USO George Van Cleave Military Leadership Award for their outstanding commitment, exceptional service, sacrifice and achievements: Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Jeffery Belko, U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Skyler Gronert, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Traci Huddleston and U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Aaron Metzger.
Raytheon has long served as a champion for and partner with organizations that support veterans and the nation’s men and women in uniform, such as the USO and the Red Cross. Kennedy, inspired by his own military service, challenged the company to do even more when he became CEO in 2014.
“Service members put their lives on the line, miss valuable time with their families while being deployed, and they often move from base to base,” said Kennedy, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force. “So we do owe them. So I asked, ‘What could we do to better support them while they are serving and when their service is over?’”
USO of Metropolitan New York President and CEO Brian Whiting said the organization felt fortunate to have Raytheon as a long-standing partner.
"Raytheon’s unwavering commitment to supporting our service members throughout their entire life cycle of military service is exceptional and has made an incredible impact on so many in the military community,” he said.
Among Raytheon's recent efforts: It has expanded its partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which that has a presence on nearly every U.S. military installation and communities with a strong military population. Since 2015, Raytheon and BGCA have opened 14 Centers of Innovation, facilities that provide interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities, mentoring and after-school programming for children of military families. Another four centers are scheduled to open in 2019.
Raytheon also initiated a major partnership with the Student Veterans of America, a non-profit organization that provides resources, support and advocacy for veterans continuing their education and preparing for post-military careers.
Kennedy said Raytheon’s support has helped Student Veterans of America grow to include more than 1,500 campus chapters representing nearly 700,000 student veterans. The organization’s president, Jared Lyons, was among Raytheon’s guests at the gala.
Within Raytheon, Kennedy championed a new employee resource group called RAYVETS to help support the 10,000 veterans and reservists employed by the company. The group provides networking opportunities and career development guidance, and helps the company use the unique experiences of its veterans to better understand the needs of military members.
Several members of the RAYVETS leadership team attended the USO of Metropolitan New York gala, including incoming global president Brenda Boorda, a vice president for mission assurance and a retired U.S. Navy commander.
The USO has supported the men and women of the U.S. military and their families for 77 years and counting. The organization provides a range of programs and services such as telephone and internet access, care packages, networking for military spouses, programming for military families and entertainment. Service members and their families visited the 200 USO facilities around the world more than 7 million times in 2017, according to the organization.