JBS, Ebbers honored for military supportSupervisor sees employee serve country first-hand at Fort Bliss, Texas WORTHINGTON — If Jerry Ebbers ever wondered whether his employee on the kill floor at JBS had it easy as she fulfilled her obligations in the South Dakota National Guard and Reserve, he now knows that what she’s doing to serve her country is far more challenging than any job she could be doing back here at home.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — If Jerry Ebbers ever wondered whether his employee on the kill floor at JBS had it easy as she fulfilled her obligations in the South Dakota National Guard and Reserve, he now knows that what she’s doing to serve her country is far more challenging than any job she could be doing back here at home.
Ebbers returned Wednesday night from a two-day trip to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he was treated like a soldier and experienced what life was like for his deployed employee, Sara Peterson.
In the midst of her second military deployment, Peterson spent a year at Fort Bliss in 2002 and 2003, and returned to the Army base a year ago. She works as a trainer at Fort Bliss.
“Her tour would be up in June, but she’s extended for another year,” said Ebbers, supervisor on the harvest floor at JBS.
Ebbers was among a dozen bosses with soldiers in the South Dakota unit to take part in the two-day trip known as Bosslift, a program that introduces employers to the work their employees in the Guard and Reserve are doing.
The group left Sioux Falls, S.D., on Tuesday morning in a C-23 Sherpa military aircraft “which was every bit as uncomfortable as it looks,” said Ebbers, who described the plane as a big school bus with wings.
“It was a nice ride down because there wasn’t much wind, but on the way back, it was terrible,” he said.
While at Fort Bliss, Ebbers took part in a simulated Humvee rollover, watched live fire and completed a casualty response exercise.
Peterson was Ebbers’ guide during much of the visit, and let him try out her “rattle battle.”
“You wear that all the time when you’re out in the field,” Ebbers said. “They had me wear it without the ammo, without the food and without the weapon and it was still 70 pounds. It’s quite a load that they pack around and not a one of them whined. They were all very disciplined.”
Ebbers said he’s developed a new respect for Sara and the work she does in the military.
“Sara carries tremendous weight down there in that operation,” he said. “Up here, we just see her as a worker every day. Down there, she’s command of a lot of troops.”
Peterson has been instrumental in two major projects at Fort Bliss. In 2002, her team developed a perimeter defense for the 1,700-square-mile military base, which is still in place there.
During this deployment, Peterson and her team developed a combat medic mentor program, which is an advanced life support training for medic teams.
“This program that Sara and her group started is going to be in the whole U.S.,” said Ebbers. “They’re trying to make it in every military operation so all of our medics that go over have this kind of training. Instead of learning IV’s in a clinical room, they actually get some in-battle experience. It’s very impressive what they do to try to help the soldiers. They’re very focused on nobody left behind.”
Ebbers said the motto at Fort Bliss is, “The measure of this unit contributing to the war is not measured by its proximity to the war. It is measured by the soldiers that this unit has trained safely and that have returned home.”
Just before the return flight to Sioux Falls, Ebbers accepted a plaque on behalf of JBS, honoring the company for its support of the National Guard and Reserve. JBS was the largest employer represented during the visit.
“We’ll do whatever we can to support (our employees in the military),” said JBS plant manager Bob Krebs. “It was very exciting for us to see how highly thought of (Peterson) is down there.”