The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes announced today that it has awarded the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement to former Senior Vice President - Automotive Operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Don Esmond.
The award was presented at the 6th Annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. Esmond, who also serves as the co-chairman of the program’s Veteran Employment Advisory Council, is the inaugural recipient of this award, and was chosen for his tireless work in the veteran and military spouse community.
“Don Esmond not only served his country as a Marine in Vietnam, he has dedicated his life to serving our military and their families,” said Eric Eversole, President of Hiring Our Heroes. “His persistence, determination, and commitment to the cause of military employment and supporting military families set the highest standard possible, and we could not be more thankful for his leadership and hard work in this community.”
Esmond served in the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, flew more than 900 missions, and received the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart. Following his departure from the Marine Corps, Don took his military values to corporate America. He joined Toyota Motor Sales in 1982, and quickly climbed through the executive ranks.
“At Toyota, Don showed leadership and passion whether selling products, taking care of customers or establishing the best retail relationships in the industry. But his passion for the military was unmatched,” said Bob Carter, Senior Vice President – Automotive Operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “We’re very proud to continue the military initiatives Don established at Toyota.”
Throughout his busy career, Don has always found time to continue his work in the military community through a number of different organizations, and has recently been instrumental in organizing and helping nearly 700 Toyota dealers nationwide to make commitments to hire veterans through the Hiring Our Heroes program.
Don was selected to be the first recipient of this award due to his immense value, unmatched persistence and immeasurable contributions provided to every individual and organization that he has impacted along his journey.
Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through more than 1,000 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and on military installations overseas; a suite of free online resources; and the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.