A Personal Note

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – As the 50th Anniversary of the Vulcraft location approaches, I wanted to take time to say thank you!

You see, I grew up in Grapeland and worked at the plant during the summer of my sophomore year in high school. I was employed as the plant’s groundskeeper way back in the last century. The job allowed me to purchase a brand new riding lawn mower and have it paid off before the end of May.

Two years later, I applied for and received a $1,500 per year scholarship from Vulcraft to attend college. While that may not seem like much these days, $1,500 per year paid for every dime of my education, including books. My parents (mainly) and I shared the room and board expenses.

Now, I would have probably gone to college with or without a Vulcraft/Nucor scholarship but it sure did make life a lot easier for my parents. I’m just one of thousands who can give credit to the steel industry giant for helping to provide a college education.

Currently, Nucor provides children of every employee collegiate funding at a rate of $3,000 per year for four years. To date, Nucor has paid out well over $60,000,000.

I graduated college in the middle of a recession and when I needed a job, Vulcraft extended an offer to me to work as a draftsman on something called a CAD system. The list of people who helped me learn the art of drafting was long and distinguished.

While I never quite mastered the skill, it wasn’t for my Vulcraft teammates’ lack of trying. Eventually, I joined the U.S. Army and made rank fairly quickly, thanks to a college education paid for by Vulcraft.

After my time in the military, I bounced around in the restaurant and hotel business for about 15 years. Doors were opened for me because of my education – paid for by Vulcraft.

The degree I acquired from A&M has allowed me to work as a financial advisor, a teacher and now as a journalist.

Would any of this have been possible without a scholarship from Vulcraft? Maybe, maybe not – no one knows for sure. One thing I do know for certain is Vulcraft deserves a great big thank you from me and thousands of others who have benefited from their generosity and their spirit of giving back to the community.

Thank You.

#vulcraft #Nucor

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.