INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 15, 2013) – As Panther Racing’s “Operation: Hire Our Guard” veteran unemployment program approaches the conclusion of another successful year it received a ringing endorsement from a longstanding member of Congress. Sanford Bishop, U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 2nd congressional district, saw the team’s program up close last week during a Military Family Summit on the grounds of Fort Benning in Georgia and praised its effectiveness.

“(Panther’s) partnership with the National Guard supports one of the best, and cost effective, recruiting practices the National Guard uses today,” Bishop said. “The Operation: Hire Our Guard program is not only impressive, but also vitally important to the wellbeing of our Guard and returning armed forces.”

Congressman Bishop, in his eleventh term, is a veteran of the US Army and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the top Democrat on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. He was first elected to Congress in 1992 after serving in the Georgia House of Representatives (1977-1990) and the Georgia Senate (1991-1992).

Bishop reunited with members of Panther earlier this week as a distinguished guest for the Pentagon ceremony where Panther owner John Barnes received the “Spirit of Hope” award for his contributions to the military.

“Unemployment is one of the largest issues faces returning members of our armed forces,” Bishop said. “Programs like Panther Racing’s Operation: Hire Our Guard go the distance to ensure the service member’s transition back into the non-military working world is as smooth and successful as possible.”

Panther conducted its program the morning of each domestic IndyCar Series event this season, but also expanded to reach 12 states that did not host open-wheel races. So far this year the team has hosted over 1,000 top-level employers and more than 600 representatives of the National Guard, who together made the connections necessary to facilitate hiring.

“They have served,” Congressman Bishop said of the veterans. “So it is now time we serve them in return.”