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Honoring Our Veterans

Closeup of soldier holding a small American flag

Honoring Our Veterans

Today and Everyday

Published November 2018

Each year, on November 11th, we come together as a country to honor our military veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  Veterans Day is a day to appreciate the sacrifices of those who have served and to reflect on the freedoms those sacrifices have afforded us.  At First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO), we believe in honoring our veterans, as well as active service members and their families, throughout the year through various activities that unite our customers, members of the community, and our employees.  By doing so, we bring people together while spreading kindness and gratitude into the world, instill a sense of pride in our great country, and create stronger communities in all the places we call home.  Together, we honor our veterans by:

Reuniting Families
As the official Bank of Husker Nation, in 2017 we were able to help reunite Staff Sergeant Matthew Hawke with family after a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan.  The reunion took place during 2017 Red/White Husker Spring Football Game. Prior to the game, Sergeant Hawkes’ family was selected to be a part of the coin toss with the team captains.  Unbeknownst to them, their father and husband was dressed as a Husker player and after the coin toss, he took off his helmet and surprised his family!  Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the stadium.

Cheering on the Home Team
It’s hard to top reuniting a family, but beginning in 2017 we decided to start giving our veterans and active service members something else to cheer for during the Red/White Husker Spring Football Game.  Through our partnership with Husker Athletics, we provided veterans and their families with 3,000 free tickets to the games.   With an accepted Military ID, each person was eligible to receive 4 free tickets which were given out at select FNBO branches across Nebraska. At the game, all veterans and active service members were asked to stand and be recognized and as well as view an in-game video about Memorial Stadium, which was dedicated on October 20, 1923.  The stadium’s name was given in honor of all Nebraskans who served in wars starting with the Civil and Spanish-American War through the Vietnam War.

Sending a Piece of Home Overseas
Since 2016, we have been caring for overseas service members through our Cookies from Home campaign.  Each November, our employees and members of the community are invited to personally nominate overseas service members to receive a care package of cookies.  Upon receiving the nominations, FNBO employees assemble and mail the packages so that the service members receive them in early January, just in time for the New Year.  To date, nearly 70,000 of these sweet treats have arrived overseas to bring smiles to those who are currently serving our country.

Healing Old Wounds
Honoring our veterans and service members can have a healing effect that many don’t realize.  At Omaha Lancer’s home hockey games, we sponsor an in-game feature called the “Motto McClean Legacy Seats.” Motto McClean has not only played an instrumental role in bringing hockey to the Omaha community, he is also a veteran of the Canadian Navy.   At each home game, a veteran or active military member is selected to sit in these seats.  During a time out, they are asked to stand and be recognized by the crowd for their service and sacrifice.  However, the recognition lasts far longer than those few moments.  “The fans standing and cheering on behalf of our veterans, does more than make a veteran proud. It helps heal old wounds, helps a veteran stand for our members lost in combat and for those that are still missing in action,” said James Heesacker, Decorated Veteran-USAF, Membership Chairman American Legion Post 32, and retired FNB employee about his experience in the seats.

Similarly, at select University of Nebraska at Kearney home football, volleyball, and basketball games we sponsor the “Salute a Veteran” series.  Prior to the games, individuals in the Kearney and Grand Island communities can nominate a veteran or active service member to be recognized at a game. The honorees and their families receive free tickets to the game, a small gift, and on-field recognition.

Helping Veterans Live Prosperous Lives
We firmly believe that every individual should have the tools and resources they need in order to live prosperous lives.  The unfortunate truth is that transitioning back into civilian life after serving our country can often be challenging.  That’s why since 2017 alone, we have invested more than $227,000 in partnerships with more than 30 community organizations that are committed to serving our veterans through services and support such as access to adequate health care and nutrition, job and life skills education, access to affordable housing and more. 

Likewise, our employee recruitment team regularly attends seminars and career fairs that specifically target veterans such as the Offutt Air Force Base Career Fair as well as their Transition Assistance Program (TAP).  The career fair is open to veterans, active military and military families to help them gain employment in the Omaha area.  The TAP Employer Panel was developed to bring employer panelists before transitioning service members in order to help them gain a better understanding of the hiring process as they transition into civilian life.

Honoring our veterans happens on Veterans Day and every day throughout the year at FNBO.  We believe that by doing so, we make their day a little brighter while also uniting and strengthening our communities.  We encourage you to take time today, and every day, to thank a veteran and reflect on the freedom they have provided you.