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Army North leader speaks to New Braunfels Utilities for Veterans Day

By Maj. Mike Loveall | U.S. Army North | Nov. 22, 2017


The military uniform is the most visible sign of a veteran, but Soldiers in uniform are only a small percentage of veterans within the population. In the San Antonio area – Military City, U.S.A. – there are veterans all around us every day. That’s no different at New Braunfels Utilities, or NBU, a community-owned, not-for-profit public power utility for the city of New Braunfels, Texas.


As part of Veterans Day recognition events, Army North Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Division Chief Col. J.D. Highfill spoke at the NBU’s annual Veterans Day breakfast Nov. 10. Highfill recently returned from his post as operations officer of Task Force 51, the lead Army North unit coordinating Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston.


As part of his discussion with the NBU, Highfill discussed the history of Veterans Day, the continuing role of veterans in civil society and current Army North operations, including relief efforts after Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, wildland firefighting and partnership with Mexico.


“It was an invaluable connection between the Army community and veterans in the local community,” Highfill said, noting that the value of the appearance was in the continuing connection between veterans in uniform and out of uniform. They want that outreach – it helps them stay connected to what makes being a veteran so special.”


Highfill wasn’t the only person in the room just returned from Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The NBU chief executive officer, Ian Taylor, was activated during the operation by the Texas Army National Guard during Hurricane Harvey.


In addition to Taylor, NBU sent eight employees to assist in relief efforts in Yoakum, Texas, and another seven employees to assist the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative.


In addition to this, Taylor is working on a veterans’ apprenticeship program for transitioning service members. There are approximately 34 veterans that are part of the 200 employees of the New Braunfels Utilities. This, coupled with their efforts in Hurricane Harvey, demonstrates the continued service of veterans in the NBU.


The NBU also hosted the New Braunfels High School Junior ROTC unit.