The recent observance of Veterans Day included well wishes and gestures of gratitude, from parades in Smalltown USA, to millions of social media mentions from celebrities to everyday people, expressing awareness of the magnitude of service and immeasurable benefits Americans enjoy because of the committed men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
When the day is over and the celebrations fade, there are reminders that there remains a critical need for tangible support of veterans.
In October 2018, the veteran unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, an improvement from the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent reported for 2017, and down from 4.3 percent rate reported in 2016, according to the United States Department of Labor. But, there is still work to be done.
VRM Mortgage Services (VRM), a leading real estate solution provider assisting government agencies and financial institutions, has invested more than a staggering $90 million in veteran-owned businesses since 2012.
A corporation with a conscience, VRM also invests countless manpower hours by proactively seeking veterans to participate in its national vendor network and partnering with local organizations, like NPower, to recruit veterans for internships and full-time employment at its corporate headquarters.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners found that substantially all veteran-owned businesses (99.9 %) were small businesses. VRM sees this as an opportunity for collaboration.
Operating in all 50 states, VRM also maintains a nationwide network of real estate professionals including real estate brokers and agents, property preservation vendors, and real estate attorneys. VRM’s leadership sees this sector as an additional opportunity to engage and support veterans. VRM’s Program Leads actively seek veterans and their small businesses to become a part of this sought-after nationwide network.
Cheryl Travis-Johnson, EVP and COO of VRM, shares that VRM's multi-layered support of veterans is far more than a collection of initiatives, and headline-grabbing financial spends, but a foundational philosophy.
"Our support of veterans is about their future and the future of our country," says Cheryl Travis-Johnson. "Engaging veteran-owned, small businesses through our extensive, results-driven network boosts the economic opportunities for veterans year over year. VRM is proud to work with these honorable men and women. This is our 'why.'"
She asserts that the landmark economic investment is notable, but, VRM’s effective management of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) real estate owned and loan portfolio benefits the communities in which veterans live and work by restoring neighborhoods, reducing disposition cycle times, and stabilizing home values.
Illustrating this commitment, since 2017 VRM has achieved 240 percent of its subcontracting goal for engaging veteran-owned, small businesses while, at the same time, VRM exceeded government-established thresholds for subcontracting small, women-owned, small-disadvantaged, hub-zone, and service-disabled businesses.
VRM’s SVP of Procurement and Risk Management, Tiffany Fletcher, said, “Cultivating a diverse and inclusive vendor network is a priority at VRM. In the history of managing the VA portfolio, we are proud to be the only service provider to exceed all socio-economic goals." Fletcher continued, "In addition, veteran-owned businesses represent the largest portion of our direct spend. VRM takes pride in providing access and opportunities to veteran-owned, minority-owned and small businesses that they might not have otherwise been afforded.”
Whether via statistics, news stories or dinner-table conversations, it has become widely known that veterans face unique challenges after having borne the weight of service, unimaginable to countless civilians.
While, alongside a grateful nation, VRM extended gratitude and appreciation to United States veterans on their special day, it is easy to understand why at VRM every day is Veterans Day.