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CalPortland wins major AUSA award

Extraordinary military supporter

Jim Tweedy, plant superintendent at the DuPont based CalPortland Company, holds the Association of the United States Army’s Sixth Region Special Award for Extraordinary Services to the Army and the Nation. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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The word "contact" is both a noun and a verb.  

It means that thought can become an action, like reaching out to soldiers when they've come home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It does feel good to make contact with the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community and thank them for all they do," said Jim Tweedy, the plant superintendent at the DuPont-based CalPortland Company.

The attitude Tweedy articulated was noticed.

On April 11, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) presented its Sixth Region Special Award for Extraordinary Services to the Army and Nation to CalPortland.

AUSA is a private, nonprofit organization that acts primarily as an advocacy group for the United States Army. Founded in 1950, there are 121 AUSA chapters worldwide.

"We deeply and sincerely appreciate the sacrifices that servicemembers and their families make," added Tweedy. "Wherever we are, we try to be involved in the local community."

Since 1891, CalPortland has provided its expertise in cement production and distribution, ready-mixed concrete, construction aggregates, asphalt and other construction services to builders throughout the western United States and Canada.

Since 2005, the company has poured time, energy, money and its heart into showing its appreciation to the soldiers and their families who have served and continue to serve at JBLM.

There is a strong connection between CalPortland and the Army's third largest military installation.

For Ed Owens, a vice president and general manager at CalPortland, his connection with the military goes back to his childhood.

"I grew up here," the Vietnam and Navy veteran said. "I remember when military bases were not held in high esteem, but that has changed, and this is important to me."

In other words, a state of mind has become active.

Contact.

To that end, Owens and Tweedy and the employees at CalPortland have taken a leading role to ensure that JBLM servicemembers and their families are honored and taken care of.

"They take care of the people who take care of our business," added Denise Dhane, a leading light in the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

Dhane related how CalPortland came through for more than 10,000 returning soldiers during Operation Gratitude in 2010 when a semi-truck with a load of welcome home baskets could not enter JBLM.

"We needed a forklift to unload the truck and then place the baskets into military vehicles and civilian trucks that could get on base," Dhane related.

The plan worked, and Operation Gratitude succeeded.

"This isn't about us," Owens added. "We thank each and every one of you for your service, and if there is any interest in our industry please do not hesitate to contact us."

It's all about making contact.

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