Local bosses given a lift courtesy of US military
JANESVILLE Janesville businesswoman Terri Roessler returned from a recent military visit thankful beyond words.
Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary was equally impressed, left wondering what he'd accomplished lately.
Roessler and O'Leary recently returned from San Diego, where they participated in Boss Lift, a U.S. military program designed to give employers an idea what their employees do when they leave their jobs to spend time with the National Guard or Reserves.
In Milwaukee, the two boarded a KC-135 tanker operated by the 128th Air Refueling Wing for the flight to California.
The four-day trip, paid for in part by the participants, included visits to naval and air bases, glimpses of Navy SEAL training exercises and tours of ships, subs and other facilities.
"We visited a destroyer and a nuclear sub, but one of the coolest things was talking to the servicemen and women," O'Leary said of a lunch with recruits. "I met one from Iowa who was first rejected, but he worked hard and bulked up to get in.
"I asked him why, and he said his dad had served in the Army, and he wanted to be able to tell his kids that he made a difference, too."
Both O'Leary and Roessler have been supporters of the Guard and Reserves. They said, however, their experience in California would elevate their support.
"Never in my life have I experienced seeing a group of people with the discipline, routine and respect as these people," said Roessler, chief executive officer of United Alloy, a manufacturer of diesel fuel tanks, generator frames and other heavy metal fabrications.
"We have six vets and two active reservists. I feel it's my responsibility as a citizen and as a business owner to support them however we can."
O'Leary said the trip gave him a perspective different than what he sometimes experiences in courtrooms.
"For me, I always seem to be dealing with the other end of the spectrum," he said. "I see a lot of people coming in to clear their records so they can join the military. I now have a new light to consider that in.
"Seeing what these people are doing makes you wonder what you've accomplished lately. It bolstered my opinion so much that I will always do whatever I can to be a supporter."
Boss Lift is intended to gain and maintain support from public and private employers and build relationships between employers and the military.
"Seeing men and women who are so committed gives me a huge sense of pride," Roessler said. "I am thankful beyond words to have the liberties I have, and I don't take them for granted for a second."