Local employer commended by Department of Defense
Expera takes military support to the next level
By Eileen Persike
Veterans employed at Expera Specialty Solutions in Rhinelander were honored in an outdoor ceremony Wednesday morning. Mill manager Jeff Verdoorn took the opportunity to announce to the vets that the mill received commendation from the Department of Defense.
Three-year employee Derrick Fore, who works in stock prep and is also an Army National Guard member nominated Expera’s Rhinelander mill for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
“I nominated them because of the overall support they provide when I have drill weekends,” Fore, the father of two young children said. “Any issues that involve the military, any area that involves work they just go above and beyond make it a seamless and painless process.”
While the mill did not win the award, it is a runner up. Verdoorn said nomination itself is pretty special.
“I’ve had a passion to make sure that our veterans are taken care of,” Verdoorn reiterated. “It’s our duty. Nancy [Watry, Human Resource Manager] feels that way, too; she has children in the military and my dad and brothers were in the military. We know what they go through and we want our employees to know they are appreciated.”
Jackie Fore said she helped her husband complete the nomination form, which was brought to Derrick’s attention through his unit.
“The company’s support has been absolutely wonderful,” she said. “It’s a struggle dealing with two kids and having Derrick gone, but having this employer come through and work with us has just been tremendous. It’s been wonderful.”
National Guard and Reserve members generally must be away from their jobs one weekend a month and two weeks per year for training; longer if they called to active duty. The freedom award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve. There are about 80 military veterans currently working at Expera’s Rhinelander mill.