At the 9 June 12 awards banquet in Lansing, MI, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) recognized Michigan businesses that truly take care of their employees who are also in the military reserves or National Guard. The Pro Patria Awards are the highest state level awards presented to employers for their exceptional support of those serving in the Guard and Reserve. Pro Patria Awards are given in three categories: Public Sector, Large Business and Small Business.
The Small Business Pro Patria was presented to the Ajax Materials Corporation. Ajax Materials Corporation not only provides exceptional support to its employees who are members of the Guard or Reserve, they take steps to support military service members who are not even their employees. Last year, National Guard member Jeffrey Meade was set to ship out to Afghanistan. Things had been tough for Meade and his family. His car was recently stolen, and he had been laid off from two jobs while waiting for his deployment. Their rent was overdue, and there was just no money. His wife was visited by their landlord threatening eviction.
Then Ajax stepped in. Their street was being repaired and an Ajax safety inspector happened to overhear the exchange between Mrs Meade and the landlord. Later that night, the safety inspector, Joe Landino, visited the Meade home and delivered over $900 in donations from fellow safety committee members. But Landino had another surprise for the family. He had noticed that one of Meade’s daughter’s glasses were broken. Landino took Mrs Meade and her daughter to a store and bought her two pairs of glasses out of his own pocket.
Several days later, the angels from Ajax showed up again and this time presented three checks totaling $10,000. They took the Meades to a used car lot where they got a special deal on a replacement car. Because of the generosity of Ajax and their employees, the Meades were able to pay their rent and catch up on their bills. Five thousand dollars came from Ajax employees across the state; then Ajax president Mark Johnston matched that gift.