Can you see them now?
They may be dressed in camouflage, but it’s not hard to spot the thousands of military associates working in Lowe’s stores across the country. That’s because many of these associates are swapping out the traditional Lowe’s “red vest”, for a specially-made, custom-designed Lowe’s camouflage vest.
As part of a larger effort to serve all military members and their families, Lowe’s continues to offer a 10 percent discount to military customers through its Military Recognition Program. But Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores and U.S. veteran, wanted to make sure the company extends recognition to all service members – including its associates.
“It’s important to me, both as a Marine and a leader here at Lowe’s, that we take this opportunity to properly celebrate our military associates as well,” McFarland said. “Our military associates are invaluable members of the Lowe’s team, and we are committed to making sure customers know we’re a company that values all veterans and their service to our country.”
Military associates can choose which vest to wear: camo or the traditional red vest. The new camo design began rolling out to associates in early 2019.
One of the first to receive a new vest was Stephen Estes, who works as a plumbing specialist in the Lowe’s of S. Arlington in Texas. Estes served as an Air Force Crew Chief in the early 1980s. When talking about his time in the service, Estes was quick to redirect any praise.
“Personally, I didn’t do it for recognition,” Estes said. “I did it for the country when I was a young man.”
Still, Estes said simply wearing his new camo vest has sparked so many new conversations with customers. When they find out he is a veteran, he says they always say ‘thank you’.
“I’ve received more recognition when wearing this vest than I ever have when I first became a civilian,” he said. “And it’s honest, it’s real, it’s heartfelt.”
Including Estes, there are 16 military associates working in the Lowe’s of S. Arlington. Jonathan Batten, the store manager there, added that all 16 of them are some of the humblest people he knows and he’s proud Lowe’s is recognizing them this way.
“It gives them the recognition they deserve for the dedication and the sacrifices they made,” Batten said.
“The things they would not ask for, the company is giving them that.”—Jonathan Batten
More than 14,000 military, veterans and military spouses currently work throughout the company. To see photos of associates proudly wearing their new vests, click through the photo gallery below and then read more stories about Lowe’s serving military customers and associates.