IAVA Honors UberMILITARY: Our Nation’s Heroes
Last night, Uber and Travis were honored to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Civilian Leadership Award in New York City for our UberMILITARY program, capping off a week of moving moments honoring our nation’s veterans. It was an extraordinary privilege for Uber to receive this award on behalf of so many of our nation’s heroes—the men, women and families who have done whatever has been asked in service to our country.
From Travis at the IAVA awards ceremony last night:
I am incredibly honored to receive this award, and especially from a hero like JR Martinez. To JR, Paul, and IAVA, and the veterans both in attendance tonight and spread out around the world—thank you for the tremendous service you have provided to our country. It’s what you do that allows entrepreneurs like me to follow our dreams, so it’s the least we can do to work to create opportunities for those who serve when they come back home.
From the moment Uber started, the best part of my job has been hearing the amazing stories of the lives of our partners. Every day I get to hear heartfelt, inspiring stories from those who work on the Uber platform. In particular, I am tremendously moved when I hear from veteran drivers about how Uber gives them flexibility and control and a secure economic freedom, a way to earn a living on their own terms. With Uber, thousands of veterans and members of the military community have found an opportunity to be entrepreneurs and small business owners. They have found a way to be their own boss. And I’ve heard from more than a few folks that can be pretty nice after coming back into civilian life.
Since UberMILITARY launched, we’ve already had 5,000 veterans join the Uber platform as new partner-drivers, and in those two months $8 million has been paid to veterans driving with Uber.
I want to take a moment to highlight some of the stories of our partners:
Ben Johnston, one of our partners in Boston, enlisted in the Army in 2000. Graduating from West Point and serving two tours in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, he came home and pursued a musical education and career at the world-renowned Berklee School of Music. And to hear Ben tell it, driving with Uber gives him the peace of mind to pursue a career as an artist while not worrying about his tuition and financial future. It means he can focus on his passions: his wife, his infant son, and his music.
Miguel Corcuera had trouble landing a steady income after transitioning out of the army. Miguel says that the financial control he has driving with Uber has enabled him to take turn a new page. He’s also one of our most vocal recruiters, referring all of his friends to drive with Uber.
Mike Makar, who attended the Concert of Valor in DC with the Uber team on Veterans Day, drives with us in Austin. One week after his return from serving in Iraq, three of his closest friends—who risked their lives alongside him serving abroad—were killed by a drunk driver. Mike decided to partner with Uber to make sure that everyone has access to a safe, affordable ride, and so that no one who is impaired ever has to drive home and unnecessarily risk their life and the lives of others.
I am constantly moved by stories like these and the difference that veteran partners are making in the lives of others across their communities. This award belongs to Ben and Miguel and Mike and the thousands of other veterans driving on the Uber platform today. These individuals serve us for our cherished freedoms. It is an incredible honor for me and my entire company to do our part to empower economic freedom when veterans come back home.
Thank you to IAVA for being such an important voice for the post-9/11 generation of veterans, and for this tremendous honor.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM CONCERT FOR VALOR
This week, Uber also joined forces with the Fairfax at Embassy Row, The Luxury Collection—Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Starbucks, and Delta Air Lines to send six of our top UberMILITARY driver partners and their families to Washington, D.C. for the Concert for Valor. The concert is a first-of-its-kind event hosted by HBO, Starbucks, and Chase, bringing together artists, celebrities, veterans, and their families and millions of Americans on Veterans Day to honor the courage and sacrifice of our military community. The UberMILITARY driver partners selected to attend were nominated from all across the US based on service excellence.