By JEN CARDINES
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, along with Dept. of Labor Commissioner Scott Jackson, Dept. of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, paid a visit to Yarde Metals on Tuesday, Aug. 23. They met with Yarde Metals’ employees who are veterans to honor their service to the country and community.
Wyman sat with Yarde Metal workers to discuss benefits and resources available to veterans, and more importantly, to thank them for all that they have done. The employees represented the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy.
“I really wanted to come by and say thank you, first of all for your service, and of course to Yarde Metals for everything they’re doing,” said Wyman. Founded by “Bristol guys” Craig and Bruce Yarde, Yarde Metals has an excellent reputation and commitment for hiring former service men and women and reservists.
Bruce Yarde served two tours in Vietnam before coming home and starting the flourishing business. There are now 17 locations across the country with the largest business housed in the Southington factory.
Yarde Metals is owned by a parent company out of California that has a charity initiative called Workshop for Warriors, said Jay Gawitt, Yarde’s vice president of sales and branch operations.
“Anyone who makes a donation, they match it 100 percent,” said Gawitt. “It provides training specifically for veterans to learn manufacturing based skills.” Everyone’s livelihood relies heavily on the strength of manufacturing in Connecticut and southern New England, “and that’s a fact,” said Gawitt.
Human resource employee Diane Lenart-Basso participates in many job fairs to actively recruit veterans. “We go to different fairs to let the veterans know that we do appreciate them, we do know that their skills are transferable, and what veterans as a whole bring to the table for every company and not just Yarde Metals.”
Concerns about finding jobs post-duty were expressed to Wyman, who encouraged education as a means to find higher level work. State colleges and universities offer tuition waivers for veterans, which waives their tuition fees, making school much more affordable, she said.
This is for any credit based degree (under or postgraduate) and excludes the general fees schools charge, she said.
Wyman acknowledged the state’s high cost of living to a veteran concerned about affordable housing. “Connecticut was the first state in the union to make sure there are no homeless veterans,” the lieutenant governor said.
The commissioners, Wyman, and Yarde officials agreed that when veterans come home, their service doesn’t end. They continue to serve the community. Yarde Metals was honored with an official statement from the office of Nancy Wyman for their “Commitment to Supporting our Nation’s Military Veterans.”
The presentation of the document was followed by a private tour of the facility with the Yarde and state officials.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.