Tech Companies Use Tools of Trade to Help Veterans

From virtual reality glasses to surgical robots, tech companies are giving back.

Tech companies across the Bay Area are using tools of the trade to make Veterans Day all the more special for those who have served in the American armed forces.

Veterans in Palo Alto were treated to a special Veterans Day treat on Wednesday, courtesy of Google. The tech giant sent over a bundle of its virtual reality glasses to the VA hospital, allowing for all vets – whether they could physically march or not – to take part in the annual New York Veterans Day parade, which is the country’s largest annual tribute.

Google organized the virtual march for those who were unable to make it due to physical handicap or distance, so organizers sent hundreds of virtual reality glasses – sometimes referred to as cardboard viewers -- to VA hospitals across the country.

In Palo Alto, the virtual parade was a success.

“I saw New York, the statue of liberty…just the whole thing,” said Randall Furman, who served with the U.S. Navy. “It was amazing.”

The company also donated a whopping $235,000 to help veterans find jobs within the tech sector.
In addition to Google, Santa Clara based company Intuitive Surgical is also helping veterans through employment opportunities.

The company, which creates robots used in medical procedures, often hires military women and men for its field operations. According to company officials, more than 70 percent of its field team is comprised of veterans of the armed forces.

“Military brought that level of technical expertise to us that fits really well with our technology,” said one Intuitive Surgical official.

Some veterans agree, insisting that their time in service and working in the tech industry are far more compatible than one might assume. According to Brian Dardar, his military oath carries over quite well.

“If I was to summarize it, what you would hear is: I promise to serve something greater than myself,” he said. “That doesn’t end when the uniform comes off.”

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