Every November 11, the nation stops to honor those who served our nation during wartime and peacetime. For companies in the glass, glazing and fenestration industries, the opportunity to honor veterans goes far beyond a day on the calendar.

RynoClad CEO Vic Wright, a U.S. Army veteran, says that the best way to honor veterans is to provide them with support. This includes guiding them through the transition from military life to civilian life.

Wright cites his own experience leaving the military.

“I know when I served my time and was discharged, I did not have a clue how I was going to support my wife and newborn son,” he says. “Luckily, my father had a friend that owned a glass business, and here I am 44 years later, still in the fight.”

Wright has noticed that it remains difficult to connect veteran support groups with organizations in the glass industry. This is discouraging because veterans are excellent employees who were tested and tempered by the daily stresses of serving in the armed forces, he says.

“My employees that have served are the most loyal to me and my company and have a true desire for the company they work for to succeed,” says Wright. “For me, there is a brotherhood that I share with our veterans that I do not have with others. I know what they have been through, and I respect them for that. I know if I need to have my 6 a.m. covered, I know exactly whom I can depend on.”

Wright employs two veterans: Carlos Sanchez, U.S. Army, and Porfino Granados, U.S. Air Force.

Companies are also taking that support a step further. CoolVu Glass/Surface Solutions announced that it will invest $2 million to cover the franchise fees for veteran-owned franchises over two years. The company says that the investment is important to help provide military veterans with a viable career path as their service ends. CoolVu adds that veterans do not need to meet a net worth requirement to become a franchisee.

“At CoolVu, we know veterans and first responders are uniquely suited for roles that call for leadership and teamwork,” says CoolVu president Mike Herrera. “They have so much to offer, and we’re honored for the opportunity to help them thrive in civilian life.”

Herrera says that veterans make ideal candidates thanks to their leadership and teamwork, strong work ethic, ability to handle stressful situations, self-direction and motivation, diversity and inclusion and their proven code of ethics and core values.

For Wright, the honor of being a veteran is something that he carries with him to this day, 40-plus years later.

“For me, being a veteran is a badge of honor that I am allowed to carry to my death. It cannot be taken away,” says Wright. “I was allowed to serve our great nation just like all of the others did as far back as the 1700s. On a daily basis, it also carries a mindset that, like I was 40-plus years ago, my ultimate responsibility was to act as a protector of our people.”