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What Determines Who We Are is How We Get Back Up

Published January 7, 2021

Dear Shipbuilders,
Like many of you, I am still comprehending yesterday’s assault on our nation’s Capitol. As a citizen of the United States, I am saddened beyond words. As a business and community leader, I am very concerned about the impact these divisive acts could have on our workforce and our families.

First and foremost, if you are struggling, I want to remind you about the HERO Program (access code: Huntington Ingalls), which is a free benefit to NNS employees and their families. HERO has professional counselors who are experienced with helping families work through life’s challenges.

Second, as you process your thoughts and feelings, I encourage you to do so from a standpoint that this important moment in our nation’s history is impacting all of your teammates as well. It remains critical that we treat each other with respect, dignity and compassion. I, along with our entire leadership team, stand united in our commitment to ensure a workplace free of harassment, intimidation and discrimination, where civility and teamwork are foundational. My expectation is that every individual, regardless of position, actively demonstrate civility in the workplace and strive to be a role model of respectful behavior.

Finally, I want us all to remain hopeful. While the foundation of our democracy was attacked yesterday, what happens next will be a defining moment in our nation’s history. I have heard from many of you, sharing both your concerns and your faith that our country will come back from this stronger and more united. I share in this belief, and I appreciate your reassuring messages. In closing, I’d like to share an excerpt from a message I received this morning from a fellow shipbuilder:

“What knocks you down can make you stronger.
What determines who we are is how we get back up.
This is as simple as how you treat a stranger.
How you help your neighbor.
How you may love what you have in life, but more importantly what you give in life to others.
Today we all must become one as a country.”

Jennifer Boykin
Newport News Shipbuilding