More than two dozen Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group’s employees have served or continue to serve in the military. They support our country, so we want to support them.

PTTG is like a family and we are proud of our family members who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or National Guard. Our late owner Don Johnston was an Army veteran, so it’s only fitting that the company should support his fellow veterans.

In that vein, Pittsburg supports its full-time employees’ military obligations and grants leave for uniformed services in accordance with state and federal laws. Any employee called to active duty is paid the difference of their PTTG average annual income and their military duty pay.

“Military blood runs thick through Pittsburg Tank,” said Site Safety Coordinator Andrew Fortney. “Most everybody with the company, if not a veteran, has loved ones that are.”

Fortney planned from an early age to join the Army once he was old enough. While Fortney did enlist on his 18th birthday, instead of the Army he became a Marine.

After training at Parris Island Boot Camp, Fortney served with the Alpha Battery First Battalion 11th Marines for four years, including a deployment to Al Taqaddum, Iraq from June 2007 to April 2008.

He said his time in the Marines taught him about professionalism and how to think outside the box.

Each of PTTG’s veterans has their own reasons for serving their country. This blog post covers a few of their stories.

Engineer Matt Fegenbush was thinking of the future when he joined the Kentucky Army National Guard as an engineer with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade five years ago at age 33.

“I wanted to be the kind of person that I wanted my children to look up to,” Fegenbush said.

As a Guardsman, Fegenbush was deployed to Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2016-17.

“The perspective gained operating in a field environment with limited resources challenged both my intellect and leadership,” he said. “I consider it an overall positive experience to help the local populations to one day live free from persecution.”

Fegenbush has been with PTTG for three years – part of which he spent deployed. He said he’s fortunate to work for a company that supports veterans.

“The support that the Johnston family has shown me and my family is very meaningful to me,” he said. “While deployed, never once did I question whether my job would be waiting for me upon my return. This kind of loyalty to employees is rare among companies. Additionally, it makes me proud to work with and for those who have also sacrificed for the good of the country.”

Joining the military was partly an impulsive decision and based partly on wanting to live up to family tradition for PTTG inspection crew member Jarred Haggard. The benefits didn’t hurt either.

Haggard has had several family members who have served in the military including – both grandfathers, one grandmother, two uncles, and his father.

“My parents actually met because of the military,” Haggard said. “My grandfathers worked together in the same unit.”

Haggard followed suit by joining the Indiana National Guard eight years ago. He’s serving as an E-5 Sergeant and just recently was sent to Japan for a month for a joint training exercise.

Working at a place like Pittsburg Tank & Tower that accommodates his National Guard training schedule is meaningful to Haggard.

“It’s definitely one of the many things I appreciate about the company,” Haggard said. “It’s especially important with the way our training schedules have been. They understand and never give me any sort of trouble.”

Chris Richardson also comes from a military family, but he was the first of his kin that enlisted in the Marines. He served for five years, though he went into the reserves after a year so that he could continue welding and didn’t have to live on base.

Richardson has worked at Pittsburg for close to two years.

“I’ve enjoyed working here, and the fact that the owners and staff support the military is nice,” he said.

Jamie McReynolds, a project manager with Pittsburg Tank, had no career plans after high school and a desire to travel. These reasons and his family’s long line of military service led him to join the Navy at 17.

After enlisting in the Navy, McReynolds was deployed to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in the mid-‘90s. During his time in the Navy, he served on the USS George Washington (CVN-73) as a 3rd Class Petty Officer.

“It was great,” he said. “I’ve seen the world, with over 13 countries visited.”

As a newlywed 18-year-old, Allstate Tower Director of Operations Sam Dorris decided to join the Army because it “offered security for the family.” During his three years with 502nd Infantry, Division C Company, Dorris was taught discipline and respect.

The Army also helped foster a better ability to communicate with others and work as a team which, along with discipline and respect, are principles that Dorris uses every day at Allstate.

“I joined the military to better myself and got back to school once I decide what I want to do,” said David Haire Jr., who works in the PTT shop paint bay.

Wanting to stay close to his family, Haire joined the Indiana National Guard three years ago. As an E-4 specialist, it’s his duty to check vehicles and make sure they are ready to go into the field for training.

Haire is proud to work for a company that supports the military and its veterans.

“It means the world to me because I know that if it comes down to it, I’ll always have a company that will support what I am doing for my country,” said Haire.

Having become a certified welder during his stints in the military, Greg Aday has parlayed those skills to his current job as a welder at PTTG. Aday joined the Marines at 19 because he wanted to see the world. He later enlisted in the Army, spending 10 years total in the two military branches.

Aday was deployed with the 26th Marine expeditionary unit from 1994 to 1997 and in the 3rd Armor and 1st Infantry divisions in the Army during Iraq Freedom from 2001 to 2003.

Aday said it was a “Privilege to serve my country honorably.”

Describing himself as a troubled teen, Allstate Tower Foreman Kevin Robertson sought structure when he joined the Army at 19.

During his time serving with the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, Robertson served in Desert Storm in Iraq and learned skills like “leadership and to depend on my brothers in arms.” These are skills he still applies in his everyday life.

Allstate Project Manager Nick Riley served in the Indiana National Guard’s 113th Brigade Support Battalion alongside his brother. As a Guardsman, he learned more about dealing with issues and people and how to be prepared for anything.

Riley has worked at PTTG for almost eight years.

“It’s a great feeling to know our company supports those who have served,” he said.

Pittsburg Ground foreman Kevin Rickard enlisted in the Army for practical reasons – college funding. While stationed at Fort Campbell, he took EMT basic courses at Murray State University. He also used the money to earn his associate degree in welding from Madisonville Community College.

While in the Army, his military occupational specialty was light wheel vehicle mechanic with recovery identifier, also known as tow truck operator. His second specialty was classified as metal worker.

Soft skills that he learned in the Army still serve him well today.

“The unspoken traits that I have always maintained here at PTTG is following the chain of command, being at work on time – which is anywhere from one to two hours before work starts – and putting my crew before myself,” Rickard said.

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