Committed, hardworking, service-leaders: These are common attributes associated with veterans. And in fact, across the R.D. Offutt Company’s footprint, many team members formerly served, and use their experience to shape how they work and live.
Earlier this summer, the Offutt Family Foundation selected organizations serving veterans as the focus for their Community Builder Grant program. This unique initiative is designed to support charitable organizations and nonprofits that RDO team members nominate through an application process. Through the process, several team members who were veterans like Parts Manager, Mason Davis, in Kalispell, Montana decided to build on their history of service by securing grants for their community.
“We should all find a way to give back to a veteran organization,” he said. “Many times, these veterans deal with many issues that we cannot see, but we can be able to give them a sense of belonging and camaraderie.”
Mason secured a $10,000 grant for Flathead Marines, Inc. These funds are being used to fund holiday parades for Kalispell and surrounding areas. The organization also does direct donations to former Marines in need of clothing, food, or mental health services.
Another veteran, Ollie Windle, General Manager of the Portland, Oregon RDO store, helped fulfill a need in his local community through his support of an outdoor adventure group called Veteran Overland which helps veterans of all abilities to get outdoors with “off-roading” (overland) vehicles.
“Being a disabled Marine Corps veteran myself, I gravitate towards other veterans for camaraderie, resiliency, nostalgia, and networking,” he explained.
Veterans Overland received a $10,000 grant to buy an overland vehicle which will allow them to serve more people in the coming months.
Overall, 18 Community Builder grants were awarded across the RDO footprint, which includes RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Farms, totaling $195,000 in grants. While the ripple effect of these grants is still being felt, we can take a deeper dive into three RDO stories of their military service.
Read on to learn more about the way their service shapes their contributions at RDO today.
Mason’s family has a proud tradition of military service, particularly in the Marine Corps – his grandfather, father, and uncle were all Marines, and his other grandfather served in the Navy. However, the military wasn’t at the forefront of Mason’s mind as he entered college. In fact, he was playing college football when a close friend who had joined the Army passed away during a training exercise.
The tragedy inspired Mason to enlist, and he joined the Marine Corps Reserve, partially due to his family history but also to challenge himself to grow and become a better person. On his 20th birthday, he left for boot camp in San Diego, CA. He attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton before going to Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri for military occupational specialty (MOS) training. There he served as a Motor Transport Operator, a position in which he drove a wide variety of heavy vehicles.
He was assigned to the 23rd Truck Company based in Las Vegas, NV, where he would attain the rank of Sergeant. Mason was a section leader, responsible for 45 fellow Marines. In this role, he helped develop training scenarios, run them, and grade and coach his reports. Training missions involved packing out for multiple weeks in remote southern Nevada, identifying and working to effectively and safely address scenarios including IED encounters, light and heavy fire, medivac, and more.
Mason said the leadership experience he gained as a section leader is among the most valuable takeaways from his service. He served as a counselor and mentor, helping his Marines work through things both in and outside of the job. He puts these skills to use every day in his role at RDO, always striving to be a better leader.
Troy enlisted in the Navy, following in the footsteps of both of his grandfathers – one of whom served in the U.S. Navy during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and the other who served in United Kingdom’s Royal Navy during World War II.
Among his assignments during his nearly five years in the Navy, Troy served in the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in St. Marys, GA. There, his primary duty was ensuring the security of nuclear assets being off-loaded from submarines and transported to storage. It’s an experience he still speaks about with a sense of awe, recalling what it was like to have such a responsibility in just his early 20s.
Following his time in the Navy, Troy did contract work which allowed him to travel the world and helped ease his transition back into civilian life. In fact, prior to joining RDO, Troy was building oil tanks in South America for his contract job.
Today, in his role as Field Service Manager, Troy helps manage Preventative Maintenance Technicians across the Fort Worth, Irving, and occasionally McKinney RDO Equipment Co. stores. He handles logistics for his team members, ensures they have work lined up and have the equipment and parts they need to do their jobs.
His service in the Navy provided him leadership skills and a deeper understanding of friendship and camaraderie. He uses these skills today to always be looking out for his team members, pushing them to succeed and recognizing them for their work.
Jaimey is a 30-year Marine Corps veteran. He became interested in the Marines while in high school. Nearing graduation, he visited a Marine recruiter who influenced his decision to enlist. Six months later, he shipped off for boot camp.
Jaimey began as an aircraft mechanic, working on Harrier jet engines in Yuma, AZ. He went on to manage the flightline maintenance shop for a squadron of 25 aircraft, and later advanced to the Marine Aviation Logistic Support Squadron. In this position, he oversaw logistics, equipment, and material support for five other squadrons.
At the onset of the Iraq War after 9/11, Jaimey recalls the overwhelming sense of fear and chaos but also the element of controlled professionalism; it all came back to focusing on the mission. In maintaining aircraft, Jaimey and his unit were ensuring the safety of pilots to the best of their ability. Jaimey’s unit provided direct support for aircraft involved in combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As harrowing as the experience was, Jaimey said seeing everyone execute their responsibilities gave him an incredible sense of pride and duty.
Throughout his 30-year tenure, Jaimey was deployed overseas 10 times, primarily to locations in the western Pacific, in addition to many domestic locations. He spent time in Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, Italy, Spain, and more.
Early in his career, Jaimey was given a level of trust to complete his duties, which continued to grow along with him in the years that followed. He worked diligently, and it showed – he would retire from the Marine Corps in 2020 at the rank of Major. His promotions – the recognition of his hard work – are among his proudest achievements.
Jaimey credits the Marine Corps for molding him into the person he is today and giving him a skillset, he never imagined having. Today Jaimey uses the discipline and focus he earned as a Marine to help elevate the performance of the RDO Equipment Co. team in Yuma.
Read more stories from RDO team members who served, here.