Stand in the parking lot at the Lowe’s 1634 in Rapid City, South Dakota, and on any given day, you could spot a B-1 bomber overhead. The store’s notable neighbor, Ellsworth Air Force Base, is home to the 28th Bomb Wing squad and a short distance away to Camp Rapid Army National Guard Base and several VA hospitals.
Families from the two bases find items for their homes at the Lowe’s of Rapid City, and they find jobs there, too. Lowe’s employees in Rapid City represent five branches of the military and approximately 25 percent of the workforce is either active duty or veterans. The store’s support for hiring its military neighbors hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The Lowe’s of Rapid City earned The American Legion Medium Employer of Veterans Award presented in August at the Legion’s 99th annual convention. Since 1969, the national award has recognized businesses that have outstanding records in employing and retaining veterans, workers with disabilities and older members of the workforce. The South Dakota Department of Labor nominated the Lowe’s for the honor.
“We welcome spouses to work at Lowe’s and when the order comes to move to other locations, we contact Lowe’s stores near the base where they’re moving to see if there are open positions,” John Fenske, Lowe’s human resources manager said.
Supporting the military is personal for Fenske. “On September 11, 2001, I was on the phone talking to a friend and customer in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack. I lost many friends and customers that day and have tried to support those who have risked their lives to fight for our freedom and safety,” Fenske said.
Dena Shelp, area human resources manager, also represented Lowe’s at the American Legion’s award presentation.