By Christy Armstrong
Cleveland Daily Banner
June 18, 2013
The Cleveland Renfro Corporation plant, along with the company’s four other facilities and corporate office, has been honored by the U.S. Marine Corps in thanks for sending some of its products to troops overseas.
The company’s corporate office has made a donation of 20,000 pairs of socks to Socks for Heroes, a nonprofit organization that sends the clothing staple to military personnel.
“Renfro is very appreciative to the soldiers for what they do,” said Susan Burgess, the Cleveland plant’s human resources manager.
Socks for Heroes was founded by a Jim and Carla Hogan, a California couple whose son died while serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. They wanted to do something to help other Marines in his unit, so the couple asked them what they needed most from home. The Marines replied that they were in big need of new socks because of the sandy conditions and lack of access to laundry facilities where they were.
According to Socks for Heroes’ website, the organization has sent more than 204,000 pairs of socks overseas with the help of individuals and companies who donated them.
“Renfro has stood beside us, not only with the donation of socks, but also has provided encouragement as we have gone down the road together to make our servicemen and women more comfortable on the field,” Jim Hogan said.
The company’s Copper Sole brand was chosen to be sent to the Marines because it was designed to help with moisture wicking and odor control. The socks also have a cushioned sole and smooth toe seam that are said to make them more comfortable for wearing under tough boots.
Burgess said the particular sock brand sent overseas via Socks for Heroes was not produced in Cleveland, but local employees were supportive of the corporate initiative to pack and send socks to Socks for Heroes. She added that the local plant is involved with an initiative to give socks to veterans.
“It’s a small thing we can do in return for what they’ve done,” Burgess said.
Because of Renfro’s contribution to the organization, the Marine Corps gave the company the gift of two American flags that were flown at the U.S. National Support Element in Kabul, Afghanistan. The flags, along with two certificates of appreciation, were signed by Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, deputy chief of staff of Joint Operations for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In addition to the two flags and certificates, the company was also given another flag that had been flown in Afghanistan from the Delta Company 3D Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as thanks for the donation. The flag was also flown at Camp Lejeune during the deployment of Operation Enduring Freedom.
One of the flags was raised Monday and will fly at Cleveland’s Renfro facility on Michigan Avenue Road until the end of the week before heading to another Renfro plant in Clinton, S.C., and moving to yet another a week later.
“We are proud and honored to support our troops who serve so faithfully in Afghanistan and want to do what we can to make their service for our country as comfortable as we can,” said Andrew Kilby, president and CEO of Renfro. “We plan to fly the flags over each of our U.S. facilities in the coming weeks because we want to recognize the sacrifice they are making for our freedom.”