It’s a chilled Thursday morning in February – well, it’s about as chilled a morning as you get in Longview, Texas, anyway.
With drum turning, the driver backs his ready mix truck into place, angling to pour. He’s given direction from a woman in the rear. She’s not been in the industry as long as some of the old-timers, but she’s already earned respect. She’s come through an ambitious training program and has learned the business from the ground up.
She waves him back and there’s a pause as both driver and woman share a laugh. Their paychecks are signed by separate employers. On any other day, they might compete as would an Aggie and a Longhorn.
“That was the plan almost from the beginning,” says Jeri Evans, a sales representative in the Company’s Southwest Division. “There are two other ready mix suppliers in Longview and I think each wanted to play some part in this. It’s a community project, so it’s nice for everyone to be equally involved.”
The project, known as Veterans Plaza, owes much of its existence to the men and women of the Veterans Recognition Foundation, a local nonprofit group organized specifically to solicit funding for its construction.
Evans worked with the Veterans Recognition Foundation to pour concrete for a veterans memorial in Longview, Texas.
In the heart of the city’s Teague Park, the plaza initially was to focus on those who gave their lives in Vietnam. As the foundation moved forward, however, leaders could not shake the feeling that the project needed greater breadth.
When completed, the plaza will stand as a memorial to veterans of all conflicts, paying special attention to MIA/POWs, military women and the families and friends of those who serve.
Reflecting on her small part, Evans says she’s glad the foundation approached her about the project and proud to be involved with Martin Marietta at her back.
“It’s a great way to show respect for the men and women who have given their lives and a great way to give back to their families,” she says, growing emotional. “My brother-in-law is a Marine who actively served for 20 years and I know what my sister went through.
“He was gone for months at a time. She had little to no communication with him. She never knew if he was coming home or if he was even alive.”
Evans gained a special feeling from the Veterans Plaza project - a feeling she continues to chase.
After working with the Veterans Recognition Foundation, she came into contact with Operation Finally Home and quickly signed on. Before the year’s end, she’ll have facilitated another donated pour that will serve as the foundation of a mortgage-free home for a veteran and his loved ones.
“These are just small things that we can do to repay military families,” Evans says. “They deserve these things and more.”