Sponsor a Nuclear Submarine? That’s Just One Way Montana Rail Link Supports the Military
Painting a train? Financing fishing trips? Supporting a Navy submarine? It sounds like a disparate group of actions, but each action has ties to the U.S. military, and together demonstrate a few of the ways Montana Rail Link (MRL) shows its support for veterans and active-duty service members.
This year, MRL is making its support for veterans especially visible, unveiling a specially painted locomotive that will operate in regular freight service between Billings, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho.
The locomotive is painted like an American flag, and is emblazoned with “Thank You Veterans” on the side. It also features the seals of each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
While MRL’s locomotive offers a very noticeable homage to veterans, the railroad does more. In conjunction with the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, MRL will make a $50,000 donation to Warriors and Quiet Waters, an organization offering a week-long fly-fishing experience to post-9/11 combat veterans and their loved ones.
MRL is also a top-level founding donor supporting the commissioning and crew of the USS Montana (SSN 794), a Virginia Class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine. It is the first time in a century a U.S. Navy vessel will be named after Montana.
Financial support for veterans does not only go to organizations outside MRL. The railroad recently implemented a Make Whole Pay clause for MRL employees who are also members of the National Guard or reserves.
The clause ensures that employees called to active duty, such as training or deployments, will not see a reduction in their wages. If there is a difference between an employee’s military pay and his or her MRL wages, MRL will pay the balance during the duration of the employee’s active service.
Charitable work is a priority for MRL, and the railroad dedicates a significant portion of its efforts toward current and former military members, whether they need direct financial assistance, an opportunity to relax and unwind, or, yes, a submarine.