Businesses recognized for supporting soldiers
By RANDY GONZALES
Two local businesses have been honored for their support of active service members and veterans.
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognized Home Steel Siding and Windows and Hays Medical Center, giving the businesses the Patriot Award in short ceremonies Monday morning.
Tim Kingsley, who has owned Home Steel Siding and Windows since 2007, employs six service members or veterans: Matt Brenner; Shane Loving; Bob Fear; Gary Wegele; Anthony Knipp; and Pat Toth.
"Basically, if you're a veteran, and you apply for a job here, you're given a chance to work here," Kingsley said.
"They're the ones who contribute. We're just reaping the benefits of their service.
"They come back from the service with the work ethic, knowledge of how to get things done. They're good people."
The appreciation goes both ways.
"I think it's good to recognize Tim for what he's done for veterans and active duty and reservists," said Loving, who served in the Navy from 1996 to 2002. "There's not enough people doing it.
"These guys work hard overseas defending their country. When they come back, especially in down economic times, it can be hard to find a job."
"Of course, we're honored to receive this type of award," Kingsley said.
Jerry Molstead, brigade surgeon of the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade, Sedalia, Mo., also works as a physician's assistant for the orthopedic clinic at HaysMed. Molstead just finished in the spring his third tour overseas; he's served in Germany, Iraq and Kuwait.
While gone, staff members would send Molstead care packages every two weeks.
"They sent me boxes all the time," he said. "Just stuff you couldn't get. We were very limited out in the desert."
Molstead added the hospital has worked with him on deployments.
"They're very supportive," he said.
"I (had been) gone since April 2012. That's a big gap to have somebody gone at that position."
Lisa Dinkel, director of imaging, orthopedics, breast care and the pain clinic at HaysMed, said the hospital has approximately 25 employees who serve. She said Molstead's position was filled, but his absence was felt.
"Of course, Jerry worked here for so many years, he was missed," Dinkel said. "The group did do several different care packages and sent them to him."
Colleen Allen, a volunteer with ESGR for nine years, said approximately 1,200 Kansas businesses have given statements of support this year.
"Our primary job is to assure employers that they understand that their service members legally have the opportunity to go to drill, be deployed, go to training," she said, "and have their job reinstated when they come back, or something equivalent to that."