ESCANABA - SGT's Recycling Inc. received special recognition for its dedication to veterans Wednesday during a ceremony held at the company's Escanaba facility.
"What we're going to do today is say thank you to several members of (SGT's) recycling for their efforts and what they're doing for this community and the veterans community," said Maj. Gen. Robert W. Smith, III, director of the Michigan Workforce Development Agency's Veteran's Services Division.
SGT's (pronounced "sergeants") Recycling was founded by Jim Smith, an honorably disabled discharged veteran of the United States Army. The company has 25 employees, 18 of which are veterans.
"We're going to welcome these people ... to be a part of our big military family for the effort that you've made to increase the livelihood of many veterans and added to the great U.P.," said Smith.
In recognition of the company's commitment to veteran job fulfillment, specially-minted coins were presented to CEO Steve Hawn, President Jim Smith, General Manager Pamela Carey, Public Relations Cammy Hawn, and Resale Store Manager Joan Dufour. A second coin was presented to the oldest veteran in attendance at the ceremony, Richard Morrison, who served with the 4th Marine Division during WWII.
SGT's Recycling's coin - reminicenent of the "challenge coins" used by servicemen as far back as World War I to identify themselves as Americans when returning to American lines - bears the seal of the State of Michigan on one side and the flag of a two-star general on the reverse.
"They were nominated and ... across the whole state there are only about 51 of these coins statewide," Smith told the Daily Press, noting that five of those coins were presented during the SGT's Recycling ceremony.
In addition to the coin, certificates were presented to the SGT's Recycling staff by representatives from both U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and State Sen. Tom Casperson's offices.
"I am not of military breed or background but for a long time I've had the deepest appreciation for what these people do for our country and it's something I hold very near and dear," said Hawn, adding that he was proud to represent the company after working with and hearing the stories of the veterans for SGT's Recycling.
Hawn also expressed that it was important to him that anyone - whether they had a military background or not - could make a difference in the veteran cause and that SGT's Recycling would continue to be active in supporting veterans.
"We are committed to keeping as many veterans gainfully employed while enhancing our internal outreach program offerings and ensuring that we offer a place of employment that you will all be proud to be associated with, whether employer, employee, client, or concerned citizen," he said.