On this Veterans Day, here are the stories of four of our veterans here at Rogers Family Company. We hope this provides a better understanding of our amazing team and connects real faces to the purpose of this day. As they say, "Thank a Vet."
A 61 year old veteran, serving a grand total of 15 years, named Kendall (Bim) Coleman is one of the veterans working at Rogers Family Company.
He spent his military career in the Navy on five different ships, providing the vital supplies to his fellow men and women in combat, first at the end of Vietnam, and then during Desert Storm. Kendall is a humble family man who truly enjoys talking about his time in the military.
He joined six months out of high school, and was given the choice between two stations with one being in San Diego, California. That wasn't a hard decision. The beaches and weather were a strong draw, so he moved West.
Life on a Navy ship was crowded as Kendall described. They dealt with tight quarters which were compounded with the tension of conflict, but he says the crew stayed at ease with each other, maintaining the camaraderie necessary during battle.
When I asked Kendall if there was a story he would be willing to share, he told me about a friend, James F. Crockford, who was lost at sea while the ship traveled to its final destination during the first Gulf War in 1991. Kendall's tone changed while recounting the day, not to sadness or remorse, but to contemplation.
He recalled his friend's humor and work ethic, and the positive experiences they had. Together, they were on a mission executing on their training and serving their country, but only Kendall made it home. For Kendall, his friend will always live in his heart. Raise a glass for James, today!
At 27 years old, Justin made the bold decision to enter into military service, choosing the Navy as his home for the next four years.
Justin stands at a powerful 6'4"; you wouldn't expect that someone of his size would volunteer for a life under water in a large metal tube, but that is exactly what happened. Yep, Justin was a sub-mariner, or "bubble head", as they are lovingly referred to by the men & women on surface ships. By the way, the sub-mariners refer to surface ships and their crew as "targets"... (military humor)
Justin served his four years in the Navy on a Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine called the U.S.S. Albany. His job as Sonar Technician was to be the eyes and ears of the boat. As he describes it, there were moments of fear as the boat would pass through uncharted ocean. Suddenly, his sonar would indicate an extreme sea floor elevation change indicating an eminent collision with the sea bed. Split decision thinking and execution of his training kept his boat from danger.
Justin is a 36-year-old man with tremendous spirit and humor that lifts those near him. He found his home with Rogers Family Company less than a year after his time in the Navy, and has been here ever since. He is a man who dedicated himself to his country and his mission, and is now doing the same for Rogers. We are lucky to have him.
Marine Corp vet of Desert Shield, Hans spent four years in the military, entering in July of 1989 and leaving with honors in July of 1993.
Hans choose infantry as his is specialty and before his deployment to Saudi Arabi in 90' he moved into Security Forces. As one of 60 Marines on an aircraft carrier, his job was to keep the ship and the Naval personnel safe.
For Hans, the experience of being a Marine was incredibly positive: it shaped him into the man he is today. While I've only known Hans a short time, I can say without question that he has a confidence and a command presence that I'm sure was built and molded by his time in the Corp. During our conversation, his pride for his service and pride in being a Marine was truly apparent. "The few, the proud..." he said.
Who is Hans beyond his military history? He is a husband; a father to a 4-year-old little girl; and an avid, some might say obsessed, motorcycle enthusiast. (I'm joking Hans!) He is also a critical part of the Rogers Family Company. He is one of the key team members that brought the OneCup™ into existence. Hans spent three months in Italy during the manufacturing of our OneCup™ machines so to solidify his knowledge of the machines functionality. He is so much a part of this company that one of our machines is named after his daughter, Ariana.
"Leather Necks", "Devil Dogs", first in-last out, a Marine is made, not born. Thank you Hans.
RODNEY THOMAS - 2.5 Years with Rogers Family Company
At 54, Rodney is fit and trim and filled with a fun spirit, a spirit that served him well while stationed in Fallon, Nevada as a Operation Specialists for the Navy.
Rodney's primary job was to spot and aid Navy pilots as they practiced bombing runs. He spent many days high in a tower spotting and communicating back to the pilots their hits or misses of bombed targets.
Rodney is a man who has LIVED. Adventure is in this man's heart! From running away at 12 years old on a spectacular 4-day adventure - "Stand By Me" style - to crossing the country three times, the last time by hitch-hiking. Rodney, as far as I can tell, has no fear, and is stronger than most of the people I've ever met.
In 2007, Rodney's son, Kristofer Thomas, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. (http://www.neverforgetourfallen.com/id11.html) For me, as a new parent, the story settled on my heart, and I don't believe I will ever forget it. The strength of a father to endure after such loss is beyond comprehension. Rodney opened his heart to me in that moment, not seeking pity, not seeking anything. He and I came together by chance for this interview, and I believe it was to provide what is deserved: recognition of what was done, what was lost, and what was gained. I want to thank Rodney personally for sharing his whole story with me, and honor his son by saying thank you. I ask you to do the same.
We thank these four men for their service to OUR country, and for the diligent and hard work they provide to Rogers Family Company.
We also thank ALL the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces and made the sacrifices so few of us are willing to make.
To all the veterans on this Veterans Day, thank you for your service -- from the Rogers Family Company and all of its employees.