We couldn’t be more grateful for the valuable presence of veterans within the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry. They bring incredible skills and leadership to their civilian jobs throughout our sector.
That’s why around Veterans Day, November 11, we like to share their stories. This is the second in our two-part blog series about industry workers who have served, or are still currently serving, in the U.S. military. We also share how Stryten Energy is supporting Rivers of Recovery, a nonprofit organization that helps combat veterans overcome the invisible scars of war.
Sherry Stenerson, General Counsel, Factory Motor Parts (FMP)
Practicing law is Sherry Stenerson’s professional focus in the military and at Factor Motor Parts in Eagan, Minn., which she joined in January 2007. As general counsel, she oversees the company’s legal department and is responsible for handling all legal matters that affect the company. She’s also been an active member of the U.S. Army Reserve for 23 years.
Stenerson was in her early ‘30s when she joined the military. She had completed college and law school, and practiced law for seven years before deciding to serve. Ask her why and she’s very direct. “Quite frankly, I joined purely because I think we have the greatest country on this planet. We don’t go to bed at night and wake up to somebody pounding at our door to drag us out and interrogate us. I value the country we have, and I want it to be that way for generations to come.” She says her military service is a way to foster democracy, which she believes benefits a global community.
Contributing Her Legal Skills Across the Board
In the U.S. Army Reserve, she has held a progression of leadership roles since joining as a First Lieutenant. For the past 18 months, she has served as Commander of the 214th Legal Operations Detachment, U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. She commands a unit of lawyers, paralegals and legal office administers, and she will soon transfer to a new position at Fort McCoy.
Stenerson finds working with soldiers very fulfilling. “It’s been tremendously rewarding providing legal services to soldiers to ensure that their families’ needs are met and their personal affairs are in order. When soldiers know their families are taken care of, they can focus on their mission and ultimately come home safely.”
That was particularly important to her when she was mobilized for 26 months as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. FMP provided her with the support to fulfill her mission, so that she could take care of soldiers without worrying about her civilian job in Minnesota. “During my mobilization, I found it to be very rewarding to make sure soldiers and their families were taken care of and that’s probably the one of the single most rewarding experiences I’ve had.”
An Advocate for Hiring Military Servicemembers
Stenerson strongly believes her military training has contributed to her success in the civilian world. “The training and leadership development that I have received in the military has helped me to be more effective in my civilian job. It has honed my strategic communications and approach to advising.”
Her experience has also made her an advocate for hiring servicemembers. “Any day of the week, I would hire a military member. Having served in the military has given me a unique appreciation and an understanding of the importance of process … because, if you don’t follow process, people may get hurt. By following process, you make sure [things] are done right.”
Hard Work Is More Than a Weekend Commitment
Stenerson described that as you move up in rank, the work is more demanding. It’s not relegated to a weekend. “The business of the army doesn’t stop. I was up this morning at a quarter to five and jumped on my computer to address my military duties before I switched gears at seven to do FMP work. Once you get to a certain level, you really are actively engaged on a daily basis.” But, she says that’s part of the responsibility you assume.
Helping Combat Veterans Through “Rivers of Recovery”
Some of our industry leaders find supporting their military employees comes through other organizations.
Stryten Energy, headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., supports the military in many ways. As a business enterprise, they build innovative battery solutions that power tanks and submarines, but their commitment is also to support and employ military veterans.
The company recently provided a generous financial donation to support wounded U.S. combat veterans participating in Rivers of Recovery (RoR) programs. The donation will directly support the national nonprofit, which uses outdoor-based activities to effectively treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety in combat veterans and active-duty military – at no cost to participants.
“We are privileged to call many military veterans our colleagues here at Stryten,” said Tim Vargo, chief executive officer of Stryten. “We recognize the challenges many have returning from combat, and we gladly support Rivers of Recovery in their work providing outdoor recreational therapy activities combined with other proven treatment.”
RoR recently invited two Stryten Energy employees to join a fly-fishing experience on the White River in Cotter, Ark. Cody and Chad, both U.S. Navy veterans, participated in the trip with six other military veterans from various branches.
While the four-day trip included a lot of fishing, the time spent at the dinner table and around the bonfire was a big part of the experience. According to Chad, “Hanging out with fellow veterans and talking about our experiences in the military was really cool. Since I was on the water during my years of service, it was interesting to hear from the Army guys about their experience on land.”
Thank you, Sherry and Stryten Energy!
These experiences vividly illustrate why battery manufacturers and recyclers are eager to recruit military servicemembers and support them. We pledge to do our part to help veterans continue their simultaneous service to our country and their civilian employers.
Factory Motor Parts provides premium original equipment and name brand automotive parts for independent service centers, dealerships, fleets and wholesale customers. Headquartered in Eagan, Minn., the company offers a full line of automotive, marine, golf cart, lawn and garden, commercial, power sport, and heavy duty batteries to automotive professionals.
Stryten Energy Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, Stryten Energy builds innovative battery solutions, including lead and lithium, which power everything from warehouses and distribution centers to cars, trains and trucks.
Rivers of Recovery helps combat veterans overcome the invisible scars of war. As an industry leader in veteran rehabilitation, it uses a medically designed curriculum coupled with outdoor recreational activities to treat combat veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), minor Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), stress, anxiety and depression.