Melanie Penna standing by flags and smiling

Melanie Penna: Supporting Our Veterans and Their Families

Melanie Penna, Senior Vice President of People & Integration for the TPX organization, serves as one of four executive champions on VetNet. We sat down with Melanie to learn more about Adam's Corner and how Comcast is working to support our military community.

Supporting Blue and Gold Star families at Comcast

Last year at a military development symposium, one of our participants, Cynthia Garcia, an employee of NBCUniversal, raised her hand and asked if it was possible for the company to consider a Gold Star community. She had lost her son in battle and was a Gold Star mom. Having lost my own child, after we were finished with the day, I approached her and I said, “You know what Cynthia? We’re gonna do this. We’re going to establish a Gold Star community.”

In the throes of kicking that off, we met with other members of my Veterans Network leadership team, as well as members of the Military Affairs group. We asked ourselves, well, why just Gold Star families? Why not establish communities in support of Blue Star families (families with people serving)? And also, military caregiver families – families that are caring for somebody who has served in the military.

So, we kicked off an effort to establish three communities as part of our Veterans Network – Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and Military Caregiver families.

As part of the dialog that we were having with Cynthia Garcia, she mentioned that she established an Adam's Corner in one of the Fisher House locations in Houston where her son had received treatment. When she and I were talking about military Gold Star communities, one of the ideas that our Veterans Network had was to operationalize it at all the Fisher House locations within the Comcast footprint. We thought it was a great way to take military Gold Star, Blue Star, and caregiver families, and wrap them around an effort where all of them are served by creating these wonderful networks for families in need and that's exactly what we did. What you see today with Adam's Corner and the launch of several locations this year is the operationalization of that vision.

I'm really proud about the launch of Adam's Corner. I'm the daughter of a Marine, so I have a particular passion for our military. As a mother who's lost a son, I can identify with Cynthia's passion for doing something to honor the life of her son Adam. Melanie Penna
Senior Vice President, TPX People & Integration

Comcast collaboration at work

Our VetNet members took hold of the idea and just ran with it. The amount of leadership, cooperation, collaboration that I've seen to bring these things to life is an immense source of pride. It just goes to what we're really good at here at Comcast. We're good at bringing ideas to life. We're good at empowering our employees to run with something of importance. And then we let them run. And that's what you see today. You see the end result of a community that came together around something really important that is going to bring a smile to a lot of families faces.

How Comcast employees can support Adam’s Corner

Our ask of Comcast NBCUniversal employees is to donate gently used books and toys for the Adam’s Corner sites. If we don't use them at launch because we've got enough in a particular location, we will store these things to make sure that we've got an ongoing supply for other locations.

To find out how you can help, visit the Fisher House website