For CSC’s Jim Sheaffer and Microsoft’s Teresa Carlson, it’s a shared mission: supporting the DC area’s veterans and their families. As president of CSC’s North American Public Sector, Jim Sheaffer and the CSC team routinely recruit veterans, members of the Coast Guard, and Army Reserve. CSC also works with the Red Cross to support the region’s military families. Like Sheaffer, Teresa Carlson, vice president of Microsoft’s Federal business, has seen the diverse work of the Red Cross first-hand, from immunizing children in Madagascar to serving wounded veterans across the DC region. On Saturday, Oct. 17, Sheaffer and Carlson will pool their passion and commitment for the Red Cross — and military families — as they co-chair the 2009 Fire and Ice Ball. The largest fundraising event of the year for the DC area’s American Red Cross, it’s slated to draw more than 600 military, government, corporate and community leaders in support of military members and their families. Sheaffer and Carlson recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about what promises to be an inspirational evening.
ExecutiveBiz: Why should people care about this event?
Jim Sheaffer: I cannot overstate my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifices veterans have made for our freedom. The work the American Red Cross does to assist America’s wounded and ill veterans is critical to their successful transition back to their communities and into the workforce. However, the American Red Cross is not a government agency, and is funded by the generosity of the American public. The majority of local chapter funding comes from the contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations from the national capital area community. My goal is to engage the community in supporting our local Red Cross Chapter and to raise significant revenue and resources – which is especially critical during this rough economic period.
EB: Tell us about CSC’s work with veterans.
Jim Sheaffer: CSC has a long history of supporting our veterans, and we are honored to be involved in the American Red Cross’s salute to our nation’s armed forces and their families. Many of these brave heroes, who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedom, must retire from military service because of their injuries, yet they still have the desire, talents and capabilities to be highly productive and motivated employees for our companies. CSC has made a commitment do everything possible to support our returning veterans. Within CSC’s North American Public Sector, veterans represent about 30 percent of our workforce, supporting our clients across the full spectrum of government agencies and programs. For CSC, it’s a natural fit to recruit veterans; they are already intimately familiar with U.S. military organizations, language, customs and protocol, and have relatively minor security clearance requirements.
EB: How does the American Red Cross help the men and women of our Armed Forces?
Teresa Carlson: During an average year, the American Red Cross provides support services — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to more than 2,000 troops and their families in the national capital region. The Red Cross provides briefings to service members and their families so they know the resources available to support them before, during, and after their deployments. Volunteers welcome home thousands of wounded service members from Iraq and Afghanistan on their first night back on U.S. soil. They support and supplement staff at military hospitals at Fort Belvoir, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, and the National Naval Medical Center to better meet the needs of wounded service members, and their families. They also provide emergency financial and communications assistance, and connect loved ones with their service member during a family emergency. They can help a soldier in Iraq hear his new baby’s cry or a wounded soldier home from battle start the long road to recovery.
EB: What’s on tap for the Fire and Ice Ball?
Teresa Carlson: Apart from the money raised, this event offers the opportunity to salute our armed forces’ service to the country and honors the Red Cross for its support of U.S. service members and their families. Several hundred people and dignitaries, including military, community and organizational leadership from the Washington D.C. area, will be in attendance to say “thank you.” Awards on the night recognize members of the Armed Forces with lifetime achievement and excellence in service awards.
EB: How can others get involved?
Jim Sheaffer: This is an opportunity to remind our business leaders of the obligation we have to help our wounded warriors enter — or in many cases, reenter — the workforce. The easiest way to show support is by attending the 2009 Fire and Ice Ball on Saturday, October 17, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. General admission cost is $400 per ticket; and a table of eight is $5,000. Special sponsorship packages are available by request from $10,000-$25,000. The public can also donate — both time and money — by contacting email@example.com or by calling (703) 584-8459.