Best News Story Video

AT&T video about employee who honors dead vets by crafting burial urns for their ashes gets big response

A small gesture, you say? Not in the eyes of the thousands of veterans and veterans’ spouses and survivors who work for AT&T. This video elicited an overwhelming response internally.

Employee gives deceased veterans the dignity they deserve - Logo -

What do you do with a news story that got eyebrow-raising attention on your company intranet publication? 

You make a video about it. And you increase the internal buzz about your story many times over by so doing. And you make thousands of employees who are veterans or part of a veteran’s family proud, happy, even tearful with joy.

For its outstanding example of leveraging print news by video to increase employee morale and pride, AT&T is the co-winner of Ragan’s 2014 Employee Communications Award for Best News Story Video.

If you think the gesture by AT&T employee Mike DelPizzo (the man who had the idea of creating handmade urns for the ashes of destitute deceased veterans) was perhaps a bit too slight to merit such a fuss, think again. AT&T honors veterans in big, practical, life-changing ways, too:
• AT&T highlights the military in its diversity and inclusion efforts for both employment at the company and in its supply chain.
• AT&T actively recruits veterans and military spouses as employees.
• The company supports participation by employees in the military reserve.
• During the period from Jan. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014, AT&T hired more than 7,000 veterans.
• More than 7,000 employees belong to 35 chapters of the AT&T veterans resource group.

In other words, AT&T sincerely cares about veterans. It was the influence of this day-to-day caring, this putting veterans first, that produced the extraordinary response to the video that showed Mike DelPizzo fashioning his handcrafted wooden urns:
• 41,000 full external video views
• 9,000 full internal video views
• 18,000+ internal newscast video views
• Many comments such as this: “I [shed] tears of joy to know that someone cares enough to make sure these soldiers are buried with true honor and respect.”

Congratulations to Katie Pacholczyk and the video and video-editing teams at AT&T for putting together this moving video, working against a tight deadline for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014!

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