Lochinvar Corp. has been recognized by the Department of Defense as one of the best employers for National Guard and Reserve soldiers. It will be awarded the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award during a ceremony in September. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Lochinvar joins 14 other employers, including the city of Austin, Texas, and Chrysler Motors, that were nominated for the award by National Guard members and their families.
A national selection board, comprised of senior Defense officials, reviews submissions and selects the recipients for the award. Included among this year’s 2,199 nominations was a letter from William M. Jacobs, a manufacturing engineering manager at Lochinvar and a Platoon Sergeant for R Troop 4/278 Air Calvary Regiment Tennessee Army National Guard.
In his letter, Jacobs expresses gratitude for Lochinvar's generosity and support that touched him, his Unit and Task Force, as well as many others in the United States Military.
"Before, during and after my 16-month deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, I've watched proudly as Lochinvar, its ownership and employees have dedicated time, money and resources without hesitation to help support the citizen soldiers and full-time service members," stated Jacobs. "Words cannot express how much it means for me to be part of this organization, or the positive impact Lochinvar had and continues to have on the soldiers and service members of Tennessee and the United States of America."
From a significant monetary donation to help start up and support the unit Family Readiness Group, to multiple shipments of gifts, food and supplies collected by employees, the Lochinvar team aimed to provide positive and uplifting moments during an otherwise less than comforting experience. When the unit sent a long list of requested items, Lochinvar employees fulfilled each request, including 200 pounds of top soil, grass seed and fertilizer to build the “only plot of grass in Kandahar,” which was enjoyed by soldiers, airmen and NATO forces throughout the Task Force.
A library was created with the shipments of books and DVDs, which were made available to all of the soldiers. In an attempt to bring seasonal gifts to the troops, a holiday shipment brought the soldiers cards, wrapped presents and a decorated six-foot Christmas tree, and a summer shipment delivered inflatable pools to help fight the heat.
In addition to helping the troops, one Lochinvar employee's daughter even organized a drive at her high school to gather small stuffed animals for the children of Afghanistan. The stuffed animals were sent to a field hospital and given to injured children in an effort to lift their spirits.
"All of us at Lochinvar take great pride in our employees and their families who serve in the United States Military, and we aim to support them in any way possible," stated Bill Vallett Jr., president of Lochinvar Corp. "I'm so impressed with the generosity of each of our employees who stepped up and helped make a difference – the Freedom Award honors the outstanding efforts of each and every one of them."
To show their appreciation, Jacobs' unit flew an American flag on a combat mission while in Kandahar. The flag was sent to Lochinvar with a photo and certificate, which are prominently displayed in the employee entrance at the company's headquarters.
After Jacobs' return, the Lochinvar team continued their mission by adopting the unit of another employee's Marine daughter in Fallujah, Iraq. The company continues to collect goods and supplies that are shipped overseas to troops fighting the war on terrorism.
In addition to the Freedom Award, Lochinvar has also been presented with the Patriot Award, Concord Minute Man trophy for Outstanding Support of the Unit, the Men and Women of Army National Guard and the "Above and Beyond Award."