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NBA Hornets supportive of Charleston Reservist's deployment

Citizen Airmen part of Hortnets intern program

Staff Sgt. Della Creech who was a human resources intern with the Charlotte Hornets is presented a yellow ribbon award by James Jordan, Hornets executive vice president during one of the team's home game. The Hornets honor a veteran during one Hornets home game each month for his or her unwavering service to our country. Recipients are recognized prior to the national anthem, and during an on-court presentation at halftime, and are given tickets to the game. In addition, the Hornets donate $1,000 to the recipient’s charity of choice. (Courtesy photo)

Citizen Airmen part of Hortnets intern program

Staff Sgt. Della Creech poses for a photo with an NBA Charlotte Hornets flag in her deployed location in the Middle East last year. Creech said her internship employer, the Hornets, was very supportive throughout her deployment process. (Courtesy Photo)

Citizen Airmen part of Hortnets intern program

Staff Sgt. Della Creech (right) stands with Tech. Sgt. Bobby Pilch while the 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs team records an episode of its monthly podcast. Creech recently finished an internship program with the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --

When Charleston Reservist Staff Sgt. Della Creech was given the opportunity to work as an HR co-op for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets she was thrilled.

But midway through her co-op, the then special handling joint inspector with the 81st Aerial Port Squadron, here, was tasked with a Middle East deployment as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Despite her fears, Creech received the full support of her Hornets’ supervisors and coworkers—especially James Jordan, Jr., the team’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

“We were 100 percent supportive of Della’s deployment,” said Jordan, who is no stranger to deployments.

As a 31-year Army veteran, Jordan delayed his military retirement so that he could deploy as a command sergeant major to Iraq with his Soldiers in 2004. And it’s no coincidence that this Jordan works for a professional basketball team either; you might have heard of his younger brother Michael Jordan, former NBA superstar and now Hornets owner.

Creech said that not only were the Hornets’ employees supportive throughout her whole deployment process, they even held her co-op position for her so she could resume it when she returned.

“Your kind letters of encouragement kept me in good spirits of the silver lining to come and helped me share the Hornets spirit in a difficult workplace, deeming me “Staff Sgt. Creech the Peach,” Creech said in an article published on the Hornets website.

Creech was selected for an HR co-op with the Hornets’ human resources section. 

Under the team’s Veteran Internship Stipend Program, one of five pillars of their community relations program, Jordan said, “Some of the things that helped us fit Della into our HR section was her community relations and HR experience.”

“The Hornets really look for people who have the ability to adapt,” Jordan added. ”That seems to be a particular advantage of military members and veterans, and Della is an outstanding example.”

Jordan said the Hornets’ intern program takes a mixture of students and current or former military and helps prepare them for the next step in their lives.

At the time she was selected, Creech was a student at North Carolina’s Central Piedmont Community College. She studied logistics, supply chain management, international business and was a North Carolina global distinction scholar.

Jordan said he is proud of the Hornets’ dedication to military members and veterans. “If there’s any way to give back to our veterans, I push forward.” 

Jordan uses the same attitude as when he was an Army command sergeant major, “It’s not just about checking a box, it’s about actually taking action to make a difference.” He said that he is very happy to be part of an organization that is committed to giving back to veterans.

Creech finished her work with the Hornets this spring, and now works at the National White Water Center in Charlotte as a team development facilitator. As a Reservist, she now works in 315th Airlift Wing public affairs.

In 2015, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation and Fox Sports Southeast donated $200,000 to Central Piedmont Community College’s Veteran Employment Fund to establish the Veteran Internship Stipend program. This program allows veterans to pursue internships for academic credit while earning an hourly wage to help support themselves and their families. Stipends are awarded for both fall and spring semesters.

The Hornets also continue to honor veterans monthly as part of its Yellow Ribbon Program. Creech was one of the past honorees.

In partnership with Bank of America, the Hornets honor a veteran during one Hornets home game each month for his or her unwavering service to our country. Recipients are recognized prior to the national anthem, and during an on-court presentation at halftime, and are given tickets to the game. In addition, the Hornets donate $1,000 to the recipient’s charity of choice.