While building a 25-year career at Henkel’s St. Louis plant, Tarrence King, Process & Control Operator, was also serving his country. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both Marine combat veterans.
“I come from a military family, so I’ve always considered it an honor to serve in the military,” says Tarrence.
During his decade of service in the U.S. Army Reserves, Tarrence was called to active duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He recalls how much it meant to have his co-workers’ support while he was away from home.
“The company went to great lengths to support me while I was gone – and that’s something I really appreciate about Henkel,” says Tarrence. “Plant leadership and Human Resource personnel kept in touch with me while I was overseas, they checked on my family, and they sent Henkel detergent and other products that meant a lot to the people in our unit.”
Tarrence continues to see that support on display every Veterans Day.
“Henkel does a good job of honoring veterans here at our St. Louis plant. They host a recognition event and take the time to thank all the veterans — it means a lot,” he says.
“Dragon Slayer” Drives ERG
During nine years of active duty with the U.S. Navy — including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and a stint as a drill instructor — Brandon Kros developed a passion for leadership and development. Today, the “Dragon Slayer” (from anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron 11) is Plant Maintenance Manager at Henkel’s Bowling Green, KY facility. He brings that passion to his job and role as president of the Military Employee Resource Group (ERG).
The Military ERG aims to engage, support and enable networking opportunities. ERG members discuss relevant topics, participate in activities, and build a support channel for veterans (both active and retired), military families and allies.
Under Brandon’s leadership, membership in the Military ERG increased to over 100 and he hopes to expand ERG community involvement and mental health awareness activities.
“In the last 20 to 30 years, veterans have seen a lot of combat and experienced an increased rate of those affected by PTSD, depression and suicide,” says Brandon. “We want to raise understanding outside the ERG and remind people that you never know what somebody may be going through.”
Brandon hopes to help others find new purpose outside the military, just as he has. “The camaraderie that we share in the service is hard to find unless we create it,” says Brandon. “I’m grateful for the Henkel Military ERG because it gave me a greater purpose. It was the missing piece for me, and maybe it will be for others, too.”
Caring as an ally
Adrienne Messina, Director, HRBP, jumped at the chance to join the Henkel Military ERG – for both personal and professional reasons.
“Several members of my family have served in the military. Growing up, my parents instilled a sense of pride for our country and a true passion for the armed services,” she says.
By creating a safe space for the group to connect over shared experiences, the Military ERG can be a helpful resource for veterans and family members who have loved ones currently serving.
“The transition from military to civilian life can be difficult. Many of our ERG members have made that transition and can help with the personal and professional challenges associated with the change.” says Adrienne.
As someone who works in Human Resources, Adrienne seeks out the skills that veterans bring to the corporate world.
“Throughout my career I have found that veterans make great employees because they are organized, focused and disciplined,” she says. “Leveraging the Military Veteran ERG for staffing is one of the reasons I joined, but the camaraderie and learning have exceeded my expectations by a long shot.”