By Lindsay LaSala, Corporate and Foundation Communications Manager, ScottsMiracle-Gro
Next week, Americans all over the country will honor our nation’s fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. And while this holiday is dedicated to those we have lost, it’s also a reminder of the sacrifices made by members of the U.S. military.
The sacrifices made by our fallen soldiers, active-duty members and veterans have never gone unrecognized at ScottsMiracle-Gro. In fact, we have a long-standing tradition of honoring and employing American veterans that dates back to our founding in 1868 by Civil War veteran Orlando McLean Scott.
In September 2015, this tradition evolved into the Scotts Veterans Network, an ever-growing group, whose mission is to serve and support veterans in the civilian workplace. Moreover, the Scotts Veterans Network connects our associates from all over the country, forging meaningful relationships that go beyond the connections of most coworkers.
Recognizing members of the Scotts Veterans Network
“In the military, you form an unbreakable bond with your unit. And that bond can be hard to find in civilian life,” said Aaron Corbitt, a founding member of the Scotts Veterans Network and former Airborne Fire Support Specialist in the U.S. Army. “As part of the Scotts Veterans Network, I’ve met veterans from other units or branches, and even though we didn’t serve together, we will make an instant connection. The network also gives us the chance to serve a greater purpose.”
Over the years, the Scotts Veterans Network has continued its purpose-driven work, raising thousands of dollars for veteran-focused organizations, such as the Hero Canvas Project, The Lima Company Memorial Eyes of Freedom, Canine Companions for Independence, Central Ohio Stand Down and the Heroes for Heroes 5K Mud Run.
ScottsMiracle-Gro veterans at the Heroes for Heroes 5K Mud Run
“I come from a military family – I served, my father served and now my son is in the military – so giving back to veterans is something that’s extremely important to me,” said Aaron.
Aaron helps lead and create charitable opportunities for the organization, such as their annual coat drive and Thanksgiving Blessing Bags for Veterans Affairs (VA), which are filled with supplies for veterans experiencing homelessness.
Volunteering at Central Ohio Stand Down
Beyond fundraising, Aaron and other network members find fulfillment in connecting veterans to jobs that match their military skills, sending care packages to active-duty military and partnering with local community groups to help veterans most in need.
This year, the group is facing a new challenge: How to continue its service to veterans amid a pandemic.
As the country grapples with COVID-19, the network remains passionate in its desire to support, connect with and serve veterans throughout the ScottsMiracle-Gro family and beyond.
“We have to get creative and think of ways we can connect and fundraise, while also social distancing,” said Justyn Clevenger, a founding member of the network, former Army Satellite Communications Specialist and current National Guardsman. “But there’s no way we’re letting these uncertain times slow us down or keep us from giving back.”
Scotts Veterans Network gathering
Not only have network members changed their approach on how to support vets, but they’ve also had to rethink how they honor national holidays. As the members of the Scotts Veterans Network reflect on this year’s unprecedented Memorial Day, they note that it’ll be a quiet one.
“It’s sad to see most parades and get-togethers being cancelled this year,” said Jim Fuller, a Marine Corps veteran and founding member of the Scotts Veterans Network. “I’m grateful for the technology we have today, because it’s helped me stay connected virtually with the network through video chats and social media.”
This Memorial Day, whether together, apart or connecting virtually, the Scotts Veterans Network, and the entire ScottsMiracle-Gro family, is forever grateful to all who have served and sacrificed for our country.