Chrysler Initiatives an 'Investment in Freedom'

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2008 - The support Chrysler LLC offers its activated military employees is "an investment in freedom," the company's chief executive officer said today.

Bob Nardelli, Chrysler's top official, was at the Pentagon today to discuss his company's initiatives with senior defense officials.

The visit comes on the heels of the car maker's official kick off of its "Honoring Those Who Serve" program.

"We're here to talk about basically a three-pronged program," Nardelli said. "What we're trying to promote here is an awareness of the importance of, first of all, creating jobs."

There is nothing better to do for the self-esteem of servicemembers than to create job opportunities, Nardelli said. In working to make that happen, the corporation has reached out to its 3,500 dealers across the country, and all of them are on board, he said.

To support this aspect of the initiative, Chrysler is putting training programs online so when servicemembers are discharged they can already be certified, qualified and aware of opportunities available to them.

The company also offers sound financial support to its employees who are National Guardsmen and reservists.

"We make up any gap in payroll, [and] we continue to support all of their benefits [while they are activated]," Nardelli said. "Beyond that, we also have a transportation program where we offer not only active men and women, but retirees, a substantial reduction in the cost of owning any Chrysler vehicle [and] services."

In addition, Chrysler, working with home-front groups, has sent more than 300,000 care packages to deployed troops and has contributed to the Pentagon Memorial Fund.

"Those are the kinds of things we're actively involved in [to show] our kind of support, our recognition, our appreciation for these brave men and women," Nardelli said. "I think there's no higher calling than to serve their country.

"I don't think we can thank them enough," he added. "I don't think we can honor them enough."

Before departing the Pentagon, Nardelli took in some of the performance by the "Lt. Dan Band." The band, co-founded by actor Gary Sinise, plays mostly for military audiences and was on hand for the 4th Annual America Supports You Salute to Our Military Men and Women.

Nardelli also took time to stop and talk with representatives of 38 home-front groups that attended the event to show their support of troops and share information about their groups' activities.

Chrysler is a corporate supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Chrysler Initiatives an 'Investment in Freedom' [ ]