July 10, 2012
Celebrating Independence Day this month brought to mind a recent business trip I made to New Mexico.
When I received an invitation to attend CEMCO’s 50-year celebration in June, I expected the usual press event, and it was…to a certain extent.
We toured CEMCO’s manufacturing facility in Belen, N.M. and got a first-hand look at the new portable frac sand plant — the result of a collaboration between McLanahan and CEMCO. McLanahan built the plant, and CEMCO put it on wheels. The portable plant is expected to revolutionize the production of frac sand. We received information about the company’s 50-year history and took part in the celebratory barbecue lunch with employees and their families. The mayor of Belen and other city officials attended the festivities, as well as a representative from the governor’s office.
What I didn’t expect was the character of the family behind the company. Neil Hise, his wife Ty Juana, and their daughter Jennifer are all involved in running the company and treat the employees as an extension of their family, which speaks volumes about why the company is still in business after 50 years, having survived the worst downturn in the economy since the Great Depression.
But more than that, I was in awe of the family’s patriotism and their commitment to our military forces, especially those who have been badly injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hises don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk…or fly the plane in this case. Neil Hise is a pilot and is involved with the Veterans Airlift Command, an organization that flies wounded warriors to places they might not ordinarily get to go. He has a bulletin board in the hallway by his office with photos of those he has flown to different destinations across the country. He knows the names of each one and speaks of their individual injuries and challenges, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future, as if they were his own children.
To say this tugs at my heartstrings would be an understatement. You see, two of my sons served in the military. My youngest son did two, year-long tours of duty in Iraq. Though he came home physically whole, he experienced things that he won’t speak of and that continue to haunt him nearly three years after his service ended. So, to me, what the Hises do for these wounded warriors is something that can only be described as wonderful and above and beyond the call of duty.
There’s a well known quote that says, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I have to say, seeing how much the Hises truly care about those who have sacrificed so much for our country takes my breath away.