Employees at Southwire’s El Paso Plant recently participated in two local events to celebrate and support military veterans– both in the community and at the facility.
For the first event, employees attended an annual charity car show at Western Technical College, a school from which Southwire frequently recruits maintenance technicians and operators. All five members of the Social Committee attended the event, along with Rick Hernandez, plant manager, and Maria Champlin, human resources manager. Jesus Luevanos, regional sales manager, entered his 1957 Chevy and 1939 Chevy coupe into the show, and Peter Hernandez, maintenance supervisor, took his Ford Galaxy and won Best in Show.
In addition to bringing members of the community together for a fun and entertaining event, the organizers of the car show also selected a nonprofit organization for attendees to learn about and support.
“The car show always supports a good cause,” said Champlin. “This year, everyone contributed to The Mission Continues, which helps veteran adjust to civilian life after serving. They do a lot of counseling and job re-training, and they can even help provide housing options.”
Southwire used its booth for recruiting, distributing information about the company and helping attendees– some of whom were veterans themselves– know where to apply for available jobs.
“For veterans coming back to El Paso, we want to thank them for their service,” said Champlin. “We really take it to heart. We have a lot of veterans at our facility, and a lot of other employees are married to veterans. We want them to know that Southwire is not just a source of income for someone. It’s a company that cares for the community, gets involved and helps people out.” The plant followed up this event with an onsite Veterans Day celebration in November to honor employees who had served in the military.
“Nelda Patino, our office assistant, and our Social Committee were really integral in making the event so successful,” said Champlin. “We had two local high school ROTC teams come and participate with us. We had Canutillo High School sing the National Anthem and do the Color Guard. Chapin High School brought its exhibition teams. We also had a guest speaker, who was a veteran, deliver a special message to our veterans.”
One interesting and awe-inspiring facet of the event was the presence of America’s White Table. Also known as the Missing Man Table, this display features many symbolic items and seeks to memorialize fallen, missing or imprisoned military service members. One of the sergeants who was in attendance delivered a narration to the guests that explained the symbolism of each item.
“During this time, you could’ve heard a pin drop,” said Champlin. “Everyone was taken aback because of everything that was included on the table and the significance of each piece.”
Champlin, who enjoyed seeing employees and their loved ones sharing pictures on their phones, hopes that the event allowed attendees to reflect and remember that Veterans Day is about much more than a day off or a free meal. “We hosted the celebration because we want to recognize our people here,” said Champlin. “We are really proud of them. They fought to give us the freedom to be here, to live freely and enjoy our great nation. We wanted to give them the honor that they deserve and may not often receive. If nothing else, we want to make sure they know that they’re appreciated at this facility.”