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Recruitment 411: Serving Those Who Served

Today’s guest blogger is Jim Clifford, an executive with the IRS’s Wage and Investment division. He is the executive champion of the IRS Warrior Intern Program and the co-founder of the IRS Military Outreach for Service.

As Veterans Day approaches, I begin to reflect more seriously on the question of how to repay a debt that can never be repaid.

As a young man, my father provided me with two choices: serve in the military, or serve those who do. I chose not to serve directly, so I have spent my life trying to find ways to serve those who did serve.

In times of peace, the debt seemed easy to repay. In times of war, it gets more difficult and raises difficult questions.


How do you repay someone who has willingly risked their life to defend yours?

How do you repay those who have come home seriously wounded or injured in a way that will adversely impact the rest of their lives?

How do we repay those who paid the ultimate sacrifice? What about their families?


There are some debts that will never be fully repaid, but I believe we all have an ethical obligation to try.

Here are a few suggestions of things we can all do to begin repaying the great debt we owe:

  • Say “thank you.” When you see someone in uniform, a simple pat on the back or handshake and a “thanks for serving” goes a long way.
  • Observe Veterans Day and Memorial Day in a serious and thoughtful manner. Attend ceremonies and parades, place flowers on a veteran’s grave, or simply spend a quiet reflective moment appreciating all they have done for you.
  • When making charitable donations – whether through the CFC or on your own – consider contributing to veterans organizations.
  • If you know someone who is currently deployed, reach out regularly to their family to see if there is anything you can do. Even if they say “no,” your support will be appreciated.
  • If you are in a position to hire, put in place mechanisms to ensure you are identifying and considering qualified veterans – especially disabled veterans. These are tough economic times and it is unconscionable to think that these brave men and women return with lifelong injuries, but without a job.
  • If your organization does not already have an individual or office dedicated to veteran recruiting, establish one – and fill it with a qualified veteran.
  • Contact agencies and community-based organizations in your local area that provide veterans with vocational training and employment support.
  • Take advantage of the variety of resources available to assist you in this endeavor. I am providing a few key links here for your convenience:
  1. OPM's Vet Guide: http://www.opm.gov/staffingportal/vetguide.asp
  2. Feds Hire Vets: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/
  3. Treasury Supports Veterans: http://www.treasury.gov/careers/Pages/veterans.aspx
  • Most importantly, be a role model for your children by showing respect and appreciation for our veterans and their sacrifice – my Dad did this and it worked for me.

How do you plan to serve those who served this Veterans Day?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

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