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Come together for love of country, Purple Heart recipient tells employees

Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran Bryan Escobedo had a stark and stirring message for employees at this year's annual Phillips 66 Veterans Day event: For love of country, come together. Now.

“We are divided," he said during his keynote address at Houston headquarters. "It’s sad to say, but we have a lot of division. We have a lot of infighting. This is not what I ever thought my country would be.

“I urge all of you to look at people with new eyes, to see that there’s virtue in everyone.”

scobedo served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, with three back-to-back tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received the Purple Heart after sustaining multiple blast injuries, including a severe brain injury, while on a mission in Al-Anbar Province of Iraq.

“I was wounded physically, I was wounded cognitively, I was wounded psychologically," he said. "And I had to apply my Marine Corps leadership, all that grit and toughness, to overcoming those three types of injuries.”

He is currently the Systems Director for Combined Arms, a nonprofit serving Houston veterans, where he is dedicated to their mental health, upward economic mobility and education. The company’s Veterans Network asked Escobedo to speak to employees because of his years of experience with serving veterans' needs.

The annual in-person Veterans Day event at Houston headquarters was scaled down because of COVID-19, but nearly 600 employees — including some from Europe — tuned in for the livestream.

Phillips 66 Vice President of Midstream, Commercial and Business Development Ben Hur, who is also the Global Sponsor of the Veterans Network and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said Escobedo’s message is a much-needed message for employees — and the population at large.

“I think we just have to try that much harder and (Escobedo’s) thoughts on unity are spot on," Hur said. "That’s where we want to be.”