In 2012, Hewlett Packard (HP) launched Home of the Brave, a veteran-community service project that paired their employees with nearby Veterans Administration (VA) medical centers to help America’s injured military. Two years later, Home of the Brave partnered with Boot Campaign, expanding their efforts beyond volunteer hours into a more concerted effort to improve the lives of those recovering heroes. Today, the program serves 48 VA hospitals, providing volunteers and also comfort items to patients, such as movies, board games and cozy socks.
Coming on board as the executive sponsor this year is Marilyn Crouther, Senior Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Enterprise Services U.S. Public Sector. Together with program director Katie Bowen, Marilyn hopes to increase Home of the Brave’s reach to all VA medical centers, an ambitious goal that will take dedication from both HP employees and Boot Campaign.
Crouther has long been a supporter of our military. With numerous family members serving in or retired from the armed forces, and having participated in countless veteran initiatives and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) pageants, her patriotism began at a very young age. She recalls her uncle’s VFW branch serving as an outreach group in her community, caring for local youth and helping them to stay focused at school and at home. As an adult, Crouther knew she would become involved with outreach in the same way, and was instantly impressed with Boot Campaign’s work through Home of the Brave.
“It feels like there’s a sincere community [at Boot Campaign]; they’re focused on getting the job done right and there’s dedication and passion around truly supporting troops and their families. The sincerity and passion aligns with HP – it feels like a family, a community, and not like a corporate initiative,” she explains.
That like-mindedness is elevating the partnership between HP and Boot Campaign to new heights. In her new role as executive sponsor for Home of the Brave, Crouther foresees a bright future for the collaboration. “I’d like to see every citizen in America in boots. Whether physically or by giving, each of us has something to contribute; there’s always something we can do for others, from an encouraging word to helping out.”
In addition to Home of the Brave, HP operates a veteran hiring program that actively recruits retired military servicemen and women. The value, shares Crouther, is in veterans’ “leadership skills, integrity, loyalty and work ethic.” She also notes, “Diversity is important and means different things to different people. It’s important to have a good perspective of client issues and challenges in the company – bringing in military service members provides that experience.”
Priding herself on a history of inspirational leadership, Crouther enjoys seeing others rise to their greatness. By encouraging them to put forth their very best efforts and ensuring a supportive environment, those under her guidance can’t help but thrive. Her empowering influence combined with a legacy of patriotism make her an ideal Boot Campaign partner. Echoing a longstanding Boot Campaign sentiment, Crouther reminds us, “Remember – our privileges don’t come without a sacrifice.”
Boot Campaign is proud to partner with HP, Home of the Brave and Marilyn Crouther to support America’s military families. To learn more and join the movement, visit bootcampaign.com.