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EPA, NWRA Honor Veterans in the Waste and Recycling Industry

EPA, NWRA Honor Veterans in the Waste and Recycling Industry

More than 20 veterans representing the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard received a challenge coin designed for the special event.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler joined National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) President and CEO Darrell Smith to honor waste and recycling industry employees for their service in the military during the EPA's America Recycles Innovation Fair on November 14. More than 20 veterans representing the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard received a challenge coin designed for the special event.

"These brave men and women have served in our armed forces at home and abroad and sacrificed to protect our freedoms," said Smith in a statement. "I am pleased to honor their service and glad that Administrator Wheeler could join us."

"It is a great pleasure to be with you today as we honor the dedication and the loyalty that these veterans have shown to our country. We can’t thank them enough for their service to our country and for their service to our industry," said Smith during the November 14 inaugural Innovation Fair. "Having military veterans has been a win-win situation for both the waste and recycling industry as well as for the veterans themselves. Our industry provides well-paying jobs and stable careers, and we provide veterans with opportunities to use many skills they gain while serving in the military. For our member companies, veterans are a source of dependable workers."

The list of honorees recognized at the event is below.

Daniel Negron is a veteran of the Air Force with more than 20 years of service. He retired with the rank of Master Sergeant. Negron is currently the general manager of Recology Sunset Scavenger.

Steven Bentley is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army. He served in the Marines from 1989 to 1993 where he earned the rank of E-3 and served in the Army from 1993 to 1996 where he earned the rank of E-4. Bentley is currently a residential collection driver for Waste Management.

James Obazee is a veteran of the Army. He served from 2007 to 2012 and earned the rank of E-4. He is currently a residential collection driver for Waste Management.

Steve Ciarlo is a veteran of the Air Force. He served from 2000 to 2007 and earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. He is currently a waste collection driver for Waste Management.

Eric Crawley is a veteran of the Army. He served from 1982 to 1986 and earned the rank of Sergeant. He is currently a roll-off driver for Waste Management.

Matthew Harp is a veteran of the Navy. He served from 2008 to 2011. He is currently a roll-off driver for Waste Management.

Zac Stuart is a veteran of the Army. He served from 2003 to 2012 and earned the rank of E-6. He is currently a residential driver for Waste Management.

Doug Usher is a veteran of the Wisconsin National Guard. He served from 1989 to 1992 and earned the rank of Private First Class. He is currently a GEL Recycling collection driver.

John Burdette is a veteran of the Army National Guard. He served from 1993 to 2010 and earned the rank of Sergeant. He is currently a residential collection driver for Waste Management.

Donald Hetzel is a veteran of the Army. He served from 1983 to 1987 and earned the rank of Sergeant. He is currently a driver for Waste Management.

James Miller is a veteran of the Navy. He served from 1987 to 1991 and earned the rank of Petty Officer, 3rd Class. He is currently a dispatcher for Waste Management.

John McLaren is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served from 1974 to 1980 and earned the rank Corporal. He is currently a roll-off driver for Waste Management.

Jose Rodriguez is a veteran of the Army and Navy. He served from 1989 to 1992 and earned the rank E-4. He is currently a partner at Red Bags.

Pedro Garcia is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served from 2000 to 2013 and earned the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Garcia is currently the general manager of post collection in the Dallas – Fort Worth area for Republic Services.

Tim Tiemann is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserves. He served from 1984 to 1992 and earned the rank of Sergeant. He is currently an operations manager for Republic Services.

Barry VanLaarhoven is a veteran of the Army National Guard. He served from 1988 to 1999 and earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. He is currently the vice president and Boston office lead for Civil and Environmental Consultants.

Michael Cropley is a veteran of the Navy. He served from 2001 to 2007. He works for TCF Recycling Facilities where he is currently a division manager.

James Blackeagle is a veteran of the Navy. He served from 1982 to 1990. He is a roll-off driver with Advanced Disposal.

Tyler Bauer is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served from 2004 to 2009 and earned the rank of Sergeant. He is a production manager for McNeilus.

Ken Jackson is a veteran of the Navy. He served from 1973 to 1977 and earned the rank of Petty Officer, 2nd Class. Jackson is the director of plant operations for Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services.

LaWanda Jones is a veteran of the Army and earned the rank E-4. She is the director of operations for the National Waste & Recycling Association.

"The National Waste & Recycling Association solutes you. At NWRA, our employees, including drivers, mechanics, laborers, operations managers, as well as executives and administrative professionals have served in the military," said Smith. "We know firsthand the value of welcoming veterans into our workforce, and we’re passionate about encouraging others to do the same."

“EPA’s Innovation Fair was a terrific event, and SWANA was very pleased to play a role in planning and organizing the event. There was a lot of positive energy, and I expect it will carry over into the ARD events on Friday,” David Biderman, executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), told Waste360. “I was very touched by NWRA’s presentation of challenge coins to veterans who work in the industry. It was a proud moment to be an NWRA alumni.”

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