Reciting most people’s résumés involves hitting a few highlights. If it’s W. Glenn Yarborough Jr.’s, however, some supplemental oxygen may be necessary.
Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce board member Ben Rodgers had the pleasure, and lengthy verbal task, of introducing Yarborough as he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the chamber’s Distinguished Service Awards Sept. 13 at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington.
Yarborough’s early life was impressive enough. After graduating from The Citadel and the University of South Carolina, he joined the U.S. Army in 1961 at age 21, where he served with the 1st Division in a cavalry and armored unit in Europe and spent three years in Vietnam. He later focused on acquisition management and supporting Army infrastructure, developing skills he would use in the business world.
After retiring from the military, Yarborough formed WGY & Associates LLC, a defense-related company, and served on a host of corporate boards.
Despite all those activities and accomplishments, Yarborough still has found time to serve with a huge variety of civic organizations, including the American Legion, Rotary Club of McLean, So Others Might Eat, Friends of the McLean Community Center, Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Cavalry Association and many others.
“Are we still talking about the same guy?” Rodgers asked while taking a breather halfway through the recitation.
Yarborough accepted his award and revealed a few basic tips for success.
“I listen a lot and don’t say much, believing that you learn more and can do more when listening than when talking,” he said. “Further, one can get most anything done when you let others take the credit.”
Yarborough honored veterans’ service and encouraged them to settle in Virginia after they leave the armed forces. He lamented recent recruiting problems experienced by the services – the U.S. Army alone will be down about 25,000 recruits come October – and urged the chamber to press to allow military recruiters into high schools to talk with seniors about joining.
“The military is a great career, and maturing for those that choose a shorter term,” he said.
The country owes a debt to disabled veterans and should make them aware of the support and resources that are available, Yarborough said.
“Veterans remember the good days of their service to the nation when the fellowship and organization of their respective service gave them a comfort factor not available when one has been discharged,” he said. “I still feel that vacuum, and I bet that many of you that have served feel the same way.”
Yarborough raised the alarm about high suicide rates for military veterans and active-duty service members, and urged the audience to call them or take them out for coffee. Such “buddy checks” make veterans feel appreciated, he said.
About 23 percent of active-duty personnel have experienced food insecurity and this contributes to marital instability and suicides, he added.
Yarborough encouraged businesses to hire veterans after they have left their respective services.
“Veterans are great employees,” he said. “Their leadership skills and integrity are phenomenal and their work ethic is great.”