by Harold S. Taniguchi
Director, King County Dept. of Transportation
This weekend we pause as a grateful nation to salute the men and women who answered the call to serve in our country’s armed forces.
Of the veterans and reservists of all ages who call King County home, more than 1,100 work for County government. That means nearly one of every twelve King County employees is a military veteran or on active reserve – and I am proud to say that more than 500 of them work alongside us right here at King County DOT.
This year, for the first time, we are recognizing our military veterans and reservists with a bronzed lapel pin in the design of the King County logo encircled by the words, “King County Veteran.” Each pin is attached to a card emblazoned with the emblems of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force, and signed with this special message from King County Executive Dow Constantine:
“You served your country, and now you continue to serve the public as a valued member of the King County team. We appreciate the leadership skills, teamwork, problem-solving, mission orientation, and multi-cultural awareness that military veterans bring to our workforce. Your talent, experiences, and perspectives help us better serve our community.”
In the Director’s office it was my honor to present a pin to our chief communications officer, Jerry Pionk, a retired Army veteran who served multiple tours in Afghanistan and most recently came to us from the Pentagon.
Dozens of our veterans who work at the Airport, Roads, Water Taxi, and Fleet Administration have been recognized at all-staff meetings or one-on-one, with more to come next week. I was honored to join GM Rob Gannon in presenting pins at Atlantic Base to several of the hundreds of Metro Transit employees who served in the military.
Thanks to the voters this week who renewed the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy, the successful Vets 4 HIRE Program will continue to support veterans in making a successful transition from military to civilian employment. This program provides a pipeline of skilled veteran talent for positions within the County by contributing $6,250 towards the first six months of the veteran’s wages. Through Vets 4 HIRE we have hired nine veteran fellows here at KCDOT since the program began in 2015, and look forward to hiring more in 2018. If you know of a veteran who might be interested, they can sign up to be notified of Vets 4 HIRE Program positions.
Thanks to all our veterans for their service. See this video message.