Saluting and Supporting Veterans | Kraus-Anderson
Veterans Day is a national holiday to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served in the military. That tradition of thanks and gratitude to our veterans is one embraced at Kraus-Anderson all year long.
A Proactive, Pro-Veteran Employer
Throughout the Kraus-Anderson family of companies, its office and field workforces, KA counts many military veterans as well as those in active service through Guard and Reserve. The company is proactive about providing employment opportunities and other support to veterans and their family members, actively seeking to hire, develop, engage and retain our talented veterans. That effort includes participation in career fairs including Hiring Our Heroes ; MN DEED Veteran Career Fair ; and Veteran’s Career Fair at the VA.
“Veterans have sacrificed a lot for our country,” says Rich Jacobson, Executive Vice President, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KACC), and the parent of a U.S. Naval Academy graduate currently enrolled at Pensacola Naval Flight Officer School. “Their military experience provides a level of maturity and discipline that serve us well on the civilian side,” Jacobson said.
KA Providing Support on the Home Front
KACC Duluth Senior Project Manager and two-time Bronze Star recipient Patrick Gallagher has expressed appreciation to KA for steadfast support of him and his family throughout his two tours in Afghanistan.
“My success in the U.S. Army Reserve would have been impossible without the support of KA and the people in our Duluth office,” said Gallagher. KA’s support allowed him to concentrate on the mission at hand when he was serving in a war zone.
Military service has been part of Brent Flaten’s life since he enlisted as a Private in the Army at the age of 17. Now a Captain in the Wisconsin Army National Guard (WIARNG), Flaten is currently preparing for deployment to active duty as an engineer officer in Kuwait in 2020. His civilian job as project manager in KACC’s Wisconsin office will be waiting for him when he returns.
Understanding Schedule Shifts
“KA and Tom Roepke (the director of operations for the Wisconsin office) support me by understanding that the closer I get to deployment, the more of my time the WIARNG is going to take,” said Flaten. “A typical drill weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but this last year I’ve been having drills that are Friday-Sunday and even Friday-Monday. KAWI does a great job at ‘covering down’ on my projects for me, and making sure that other team members are prepared to handle any ‘fire drills’ that may come up on my projects while I’m at drill. I’ve never felt that my service in the WIARNG was hindering my career at KA in any way, which is unfortunately not the case for all of the soldiers that I serve with. HR has been very easy to work with as well. They’ve helped explain the process of starting and stopping KA employee benefits, as I transition onto and eventually off of military benefits,” Flaten stated.
Supporting the Veterans Community
At a time when the share of U.S. population with military experience is declining , the population of veterans face a higher than average incidence of special challenges: homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness. KA supports all employees, including veterans and their family members, who may be challenged with mental health and other hidden disabilities through our Employee Assistance Program.
Beyond supporting our military service employees, KA provides philanthropic support to veteran community organizations, including:
- Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund
- MN Military Family Foundation (MMFF)
- WI ESGR, Inc. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
- Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
- St. Louis County Historical Society- Veterans Memorial Hall
There are many ways to step up and help vets, including stepping onto a golf course. Earlier this year KA sponsored two Tee Up for Veterans golf fundraisers, in the Twin Cities and in Rochester. In addition, KA Twin Cities Project Superintendent Allen Zaffke (USMC veteran) participated in the “Longest Day of Golf” event in June, swinging from sunup to sundown, about 50 holes. And the Wisconsin KA office sponsored the WI ESGR golf outing fundraiser, attended by KA’s Keith Jochimsen (Navy vet), Seth Madsen (Army vet) and Flaten.
Building Awareness of Veterans Causes
Other causes help veterans’ families. KACC Twin Cities Project Manager Jason Rentmeester (Army National Guard vet) has teamed with his coworkers and his Hugo, MN Yellow Ribbon Network to collect donations to brighten a veteran’s family at Christmas. KA Realty and Development has showed its support for the United Heroes League, providing sports equipment and experiences to children in military families.
Other KAers show their support by walking in a soldier’s boots. KACC Wisconsin Office Manager Kristin Popma’s husband is in the Army National Guard. Last year she joined him along with some of his military friends for Ruck 22, a 22-mile walk through Madison in which each participant carries a 22-pound ruck sack. The fundraiser builds awareness and raises funds to end veteran suicide.
“We also just signed up for the Bataan Memorial Death March scheduled for next March at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico,” added Popma. That event, a 25-mile march carrying 35 pound rucks through the high desert terrain, is intended to honor those who defended the Philippine Islands during WWII.
Recently Duluth Region Honor Guard recognized the KA Duluth team with a Bronze Canteen for their longtime service. “They are a blessing in our lives as a community, not just the veterans community but the community as a whole,” said John Marshall, Duluth Honor Guard Captain and Army veteran.