Google coins that search out the true meaning of gratitude for our veterans.

Google. Really, I have to admit that when this case study came across my desk I was thrilled to get the chance to talk to anyone even remotely associated with the company. Aside from all the amazing product that Google comes up with for the internet, one of their company policies makes them stand out more than anything for me. Google’s 20% time is a well-known part of their philosophy, enabling engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in their job descriptions. The 20% time can be used to develop something new or fix something that is broken, or whatever else it is that stimulates the employee’s creativity.

For Carrie Laureno, a manager of product training, it was the death of her close friend M. Jeffrey R. Calero in Afghanistan in 2007 that inspired her to create Google’s VetNet with her 20%. For Carrie, it was a support group and way to channel the grief from her loss. Carrie shares, “Every day is hard, and starting this group has been the only way that I knew how to deal with losing someone so important. We’re so far removed from the war here in the Bay Area, I felt really isolated. It was difficult for me to hear some of the things peoples say about the military. We’re all safe because of people like Jef, and we should thank these young men and women who are willing to put themselves on the front lines for all of our benefits.”

The group has provided much more to the Google community. VetNet is an employee resource group created to lend support and also help others understand the value of the military and what former military personnel can offer Google. To date they have 200 members, many are not even veterans.

This year in honor of Veterans Day, Carrie hosted a VetNet Forum and Celebration that provided a panel talk to promote awareness about the general meaning of service and the importance of service in our community. It was also a celebration of the service offered by veterans of all countries that work for Google and its many international offices.

For that event, Carrie, with the help of our Monterey design team, came up with a Challenge Coin, that honors Google Veterans. The coins had the unmistakable Google Logo in full color, with letters adorned with military hats and then on the back a 3D image of two military personnel with the words “IN RECOGNITION OF SELFLESS DEVOTION TO DUTY FOR YOUR COUNTRY.” They were given out and were a tremendous hit. It was an honor for us as well, here at Monterey Company. We love Google and were eager to support them in any way we could, especially for such an important day.