Location: Jacksonville, Fla.
Mike DelPizzo, a quality assurance professional at AT&T (No. 12) in Jacksonville, Fla., was reading the newspaper one Sunday morning in November 2013 when he saw that the cremated remains of a veteran were going to be buried in a cardboard box at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. “Being a veteran, that really disturbed me,” says DelPizzo, who served more than 20 years in the Air Force. An avid woodworker, he reached out to the cemetery and offered to make cremation urns for any deceased veterans who needed them. He made four urns, and within two weeks, the cemetery called for more. DelPizzo began making the urns regularly, and delivering the simple wooden boxes whenever there was a need. In March 2014, one of his urns was used in a ceremony organized by the Missing in America Project, an organization that honors and buries the unclaimed remains of veterans. They asked for more urns, too— 40 of them—and he now stores the boxes at his office at AT&T so he can deliver them at a moment’s notice. He’s also begun serving as a pallbearer at the Missing in America Project’s ceremonies. “When they asked me to be the pallbearer, I can’t tell you the feeling I had when I first held the cremated remains in an urn that I made,” he says. As a veteran himself, it’s his way of paying it forward. To date, DelPizzo has made over 200 urns for cremated veterans.