Recognizing Veterans Day: Making Work “Bearable” for a WellCare Associate Called to Active Military Duty

By Desiree Demonbreun

At WellCare, our success is grounded in a “One Team” culture that supports our associates in bringing their full selves to work. It enables our mission to help people live better, healthier lives.

In honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11), I’d like to share a story about how our public policy team helped ensure Dane Bennett, a WellCare public policy analyst and first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, remains a valued and appreciated member of the WellCare team, while he protects and serves our country.

When Dane was called to serve a one-year deployment in the Western Pacific, his manager, Diane Gerrits, senior director of public policy and government affairs, asked her team, “How can we support?”

Her team quickly put their heads together..

Their solution? “Blaine the Bear, the Extraordinaire!”

Blaine, a three-foot-tall stuffed teddy bear dressed in an orange WellCare t-shirt, serves as Dane’s stand-in while he is deployed overseas. The team takes pictures with Blaine at social- and work-related events and posts them to Blaine’s BlainetheBear Instagram page.

When asked his thoughts on Blaine the Bear, the Extraordinaire, Dane says, “WellCare has gone above and beyond to make this a positive experience for me. I really appreciate everything Diane and the team are doing to keep me feeling like I’m never that far away.”

How are you honoring and recognizing our veterans, and servicemen and servicewomen this Veterans Day? Please share in the comments below.

Demonbreun_Desiree.jpgDesiree Demonbreun is the senior director of diversity and inclusion for WellCare Health Plans.


4 thoughts on “Recognizing Veterans Day: Making Work “Bearable” for a WellCare Associate Called to Active Military Duty

  1. How special this team does this! It’s real-time confirmation for him that he is being thought of! Sure to pick up morale for him and the department! Bravo!


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