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July 7, 2015
For the past four years, Caterpillar employees from the Victoria, Texas, hydraulic excavator facility have volunteered at Warrior’s Weekend events in South Texas. Warrior’s Weekend is a series of events held in May to honor our heroes – wounded veterans with both visible and invisible injuries – and their families. The Warrior’s Weekend organization is dedicated to the support of U.S. veterans with an emphasis on those wounded in the global war on terrorism.
Caterpillar employee Ron Kocian, team lead on the main assembly line in Victoria, and his family founded Warrior’s Weekend in 2007. When Ron started working at Caterpillar, he enlisted the help of fellow employees for the annual events. The support was immediate and has been strong ever since.
This year, employee volunteers helped post more than 2,900 flags dedicated to local veterans at the Warrior’s Weekend Field of Honor in Victoria, Texas, the weekend of May 2. Two weeks later, several employees volunteered at the main event – a fishing tournament for the more than 930 heroes who attended – in Port O’Connor, Texas. Caterpillar Victoria also partnered with dealer HOLT Cat® to power the event tents with air conditioning, using multiple Cat generator sets.
At the fishing tournament, Caterpillar employees even met some veterans who were Cat equipment operators during their service. One told us of his experiences with our machines.
He told us that his unit used Cat products and they loved operating the equipment. They had several D7 track-type tractors they used around the clock in all types of terrain and applications. One time, he said, they were operating to remove a steep berm, and some of the other operators were hesitant to drive up onto it due to the size and grade of it. But this veteran knew the D7 could handle the task, and he took the first few passes and started taking down the berm. Soon, the other operators followed suit and they flattened the berm easily, allowing their unit to pass through.
While we didn’t get the full details of the story, this is one example of how Cat machines and Caterpillar employees help build a better world. The veteran military operators were not only proud to work with Cat machines, but they were excited to be a part of Warrior’s Weekend and share their love of Cat with our employees. We were equally excited to share in the day with them, and appreciative of their service to our country.
The 2015 Warrior’s Weekend events were particularly memorable for another reason. This year, Ron was included to Fortune magazine’s “Heroes of the 500” list for his work on the leadership team with Warrior’s Weekend. The Heroes list is a compilation of employees from Fortune 500 companies whose extraordinary acts of bravery, kindness and selflessness are changing people’s lives.
Read the article and see the full Heroes list at fortune.com/heroes-of-the-fortune-500. Ron is listed as number 19.