Chrysler Revs Up Troop Support Efforts

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2008 - The company that made inspiration standard has done the same with its support of the nation's troops since before World War II.

Chrysler recently announced it has become a corporate supporter of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, which connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"The mission of America Supports You merges perfectly with the legacy Chrysler has of supporting the military and their families for decades, said Bob Nardelli, the auto maker's chairman and chief executive officer. "Beginning with our Jeep products carrying troops in World War II and continuing with our initiatives today, Chrysler has remained committed to the well-being of the men and women who wear the uniform and their families."

Chrysler not only has built many vehicles specifically for the military, but also has provided financial support to many military programs, including the construction of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. More recently, it has worked with troop-support groups to help them further their missions.

"What's terrific about the Chrysler involvement in America Supports You is that it's the perfect model," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison. "It's a company with a long history of supporting military members, (and it's) now partnering with two of our America Supports You home-front groups, Freedom Foundation and Operation Gratitude."

The company recently announced a new partnership with Freedom Calls Foundation. The foundation's mission is to connect troops deployed in Iraq and their families at home through video teleconferencing.

Chrysler has opened its video teleconferencing facilities at the company's Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters so families can schedule time to talk "face to face" with their loved ones serving overseas.

The company also provided Operation Gratitude with two vehicles for recipients of milestone care packages. The keys to the vehicles were included in the organization's milestone 250,000th and 300,000th care packages, and the recipients claimed their new vehicles upon their return from service in Iraq.

Additionally, more than 1,800 Jeep dealerships across the country serve as collection points for donated care-package items for Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude and Freedom Calls Foundation are both home-front supporters of America Supports You.

It's more than the fact that the company supports the military that impressed Barber, however. It's how Chrysler has found ways to keep that support relevant, as with one of its new programs.

"The third terrific piece about this is that they're looking to train and hire returning veterans," Barber said.

As troops transition out of military service, many are looking for career opportunities that provide growth, acceptable wages and stability, company officials said. The car-maker is working with its 3,600 dealers to make that possible.

It will begin offering servicemembers leaving the military the opportunity to connect with one of those dealerships and be considered for employment.

Chrysler Revs Up Troop Support Efforts [ ]"Wed, 5 Mar 2008 08:15:00 -0600"