- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
Dec. 18, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by MetaBank.
This spring, Sioux Falls-area veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam will receive a free plane trip to Washington, D.C., through the Honor Flight program.
The veterans will be greeted with cheers and handshakes, visit multiple military memorials and observe the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
It’s a way to honor and thank men and women veterans for their service and to demonstrate the appreciation of a community that continually funds the Midwest Honor Flight program.
At least three of the seats on that trip will be paid for by MetaBank and its employees, who raised the funds through the employee group MetaVet.
“MetaVet has three main focuses: community outreach, employee support and providing a resource for the business,” said Joel Mettler, vice president of client success for Meta Payment Systems and chair of the group.
Mettler doesn’t have direct military experience, but his grandfathers and father served.
“Veteran causes are something I’m 100 percent supportive of. I don’t think enough people appreciate our vets and the family members of those deployed and what they go through,” he said. “We want MetaVet to serve not just veterans but also their family members.”
The group began several years ago in coordination with Meta’s HR department, People & Culture, to increase Meta’s presence as a veteran-friendly employer.
“We wanted to be a resource for the company. We worked internally for the first two years, establishing recognition programs for service members and veterans, and worked to develop a paid time off program to ensure that people who are training or deployed had their pay remain whole,” said Keith Voss, director of technical solutions and a founding member of the group.
Voss served 27 years in the South Dakota Army National Guard and emphasized that the MetaVet group was meant to be open to all in the company who had interest.
“Even if an employee has no direct connection to the military but it was something they believed in strongly and wanted to support, we wanted to make sure it was open to them,” Voss said. “We found we had very few service members but a lot of advocates and family members. That’s when we began outreach beyond the Meta walls to help the larger veterans’ community in Sioux Falls.”
That led the group to its Honor Flight effort. With the raffle of a quilt made by one of the group’s members, Melissa Hatcher, the team quickly raised enough money to begin sending veterans on a flight.
“It’s a remarkable cause,” Mettler said. “We’re excited about the flight.”
The group also has donated toiletries for area veterans and helped with a Veterans Stand Down event put on by the Department of Veterans Affairs to connect veterans with community resources.
“We have this group of people yearning to do something for military veterans,” Mettler said. “We’re committed to giving back to the community and understanding what families need from a support standpoint.”
Within Meta, the commitment is clear. A wall of honor includes the names of employees with military service. And an employee recognition program rewards service members and veterans with a “challenge coin” for going above and beyond, modeled after a military recognition tradition.
“Meta greatly appreciates and is proud to recognize the sacrifices that our military service team members have made in service to our country,” said Glen Herrick, Meta executive vice president and CFO, who is the executive sponsor for MetaVet and an Army veteran himself.
“It’s not just a patriotic gesture; veterans possess leadership, integrity and resiliency, qualities that are invaluable to business. We hope to continue to increase the number of veterans who elect to join the Meta team.”
Many military members with technology training find that jobs at Meta are an especially good fit, Mettler added.
“We want military personnel and veterans to know this is a company where we’re doing things with a focus on service members and that we care,” he said.
“I think a lot of companies try to do this, but we’re really taking an intentional approach to ensure we’re a welcoming place for veterans and military members. We want to be an employer of choice for many, and we understand and appreciate the value that veterans bring.”
Get our free business news delivered to your inbox.
“We want military personnel and veterans to know this is a company where we’re doing things with a focus on service members, and that we care.”
Have a business news item to share with us?