In these days of Islamic terrorism, domestic unrest, and increasing security threats the importance of safety and security for an organization like The Heritage Foundation cannot be overstated –especially due to the location on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Director of Workplace Solutions at Heritage Jeremy Gilbert, and his team, are responsible for providing security for Heritage’s three D.C. office locations that house approximately 300 staff.
The work they do to ensure that the proper security precautions and protocols are in place keep Heritage running smoothly in these turbulent times.
Recently, Jeremy Gilbert was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for actions taken while he was in Afghanistan serving in our nations’ military.
We are grateful to Jeremy for his service to our country and to Heritage.
This week, Kathleen Reynolds, a member of Heritage's Young Leaders Program, sat down with Jeremy to get inside story behind the event that led to him receiving the Bronze Star Medal, his path getting to Heritage, and his work since.
You can read his answers below:
Kathleen: Do you mind sharing the story behind the award you recently received?
Jeremy: …about 3.5 hours into the mission we started taking automatic machine gun fire from across the soccer fields…2 machine gun teams had set up in a compound and they were shooting out across the soccer field towards us. Everyone started to scatter, all my soldiers got behind cover and tried to assess the situation; I looked over and in the middle of the field there was a little girl that was lying in a small ditch. She was on the ground screaming and crying. I didn’t think, I just went. I ran out, grabbed her, and brought her back to the safety of my vehicles. I was in the middle of an open field so luckily my guys kept me alive, covering me the entire way. So you know in my mind, there were people in my unit that did far more valorous things than that…
Kathleen: Why are you a conservative?
Jeremy: A lot of it has to do with my upbringing. I was raised by a single mom who was a full time nurse anesthetist. She raised three kids and we also owned a horse farm. She’s just a really hard worker and she really instilled traditional American values in me and it stuck with me my whole life. She never, ever gave me anything – she made me work hard for everything that I have. And that’s one of the key things about conservative values – not being given, but working hard, being a contributing member of society to get where you are. I believe strongly in people being able to work hard and to provide for their families, and the idea of having a large percentage of someone’s money taken away from them and given to people who don’t have that mentality, well honestly, I don’t agree with that. I am very much a fiscal conservative.
Kathleen: What do you enjoy most about working for Heritage?
Jeremy: I love that every single day that I come in here it’s something new and exciting. And I think it’s a product of the fact that I work in the operations role. I don’t get stuck in a ‘this is my 9-5 mentality’ and ‘I do the same thing every day,’ because every day is different — and that’s awesome. So I think it makes the days go by and it makes the job extremely interesting.
The second reason is being able to interact with the people that are actually here … all rowing towards the same issue whether it’s the employees, the guests that come into the building, the interns that work here…everybody has the same mentality and that is furthering the conservative movement.
And outside the military I don’t think you find many organizations where everybody comes to work and has the same end goal…a lot of people come to organizations and they all want to make money for example, but they could all go about it in different ways. They could be completely different people, some being conservative, some being liberal, some not caring about anything…and here we all have the ultimate endgame in mind, and we all know exactly which way we want the organization to go. I think that has a lot to do with our shared values – the fact that we’re independent thinkers and that we speak with one voice, and that’s really cool. You see it in places like the military or police organizations and places like The Heritage Foundation.