By Seth Daniel
When veterans are on the job site at Wynn Boston Harbor, many didn’t know that some of their close co-workers had also served in the Armed Forces.
However, under a new initiative from Wynn and State Veterans Affairs Secretary Francisco Urena, workers on the site now wear specially-designed ‘veteran’ hard hats, and the distinction is one that is drawing attention.
Secretary Urena visited the worksite on Tuesday afternoon as Suffolk Construction and Wynn treated veteran workers to a pizza lunch and social time.
Urena encouraged the veterans to be a great example on the site.
“Early on, when companies were still in the licensing process, it was important to us that veterans were part of this process,” he said. “At every gaming project in the Commonwealth, veterans are part of the team. You all are setting the example. You all set the example to an employer that they will want to continue to have veterans at the table on these projects. You are more than yourself here, just like when you were in the military. I know that Wynn is very proud of your service.”
Wynn officials and Suffolk Construction officials joined Urena, and official unveiled the new hard-hats.
Even new Director of Construction, Peter Campot, debuted his veteran hard-hat.
“I haven’t been wearing mine yet, but that was a mistake,” he said. “I urge you all to wear this hard-hat and let people on the site know you served.”
Amancio Pires, who served in the Marine Corps at the beginning of the Iraq War, said he has enjoyed wearing his hart-hat on the site.
“I like that they are giving us some extra recognition,” he said. “You get to see how many vets are really on the site. Day to day, we walk around each other and don’t know who is a veteran. Once you get the hard-hats on, you see just how many vets are on site and there are more than you think.”
Jennie Peterson of Wynn said they are far exceeding their goals set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) for hiring veterans.
She said they average about 100 veterans on the site, and veterans have worked 55,000 hours on the project. Now, there are around 55 to 60 veterans, a number she said fluctuates.
They have awarded $27 million in construction contracts to veteran owned businesses, which doubles their goal of 1 percent of the total budget. Right now, they are at 2.5 percent to veteran-owned businesses.
Urena said he heard of other places that use the veteran hard-hats, and he thought it would be a good idea to bring to the state. Wynn and Suffolk readily agreed.
“It’s a good idea to recognize veterans on a work site,” he said. “That sets them apart.”