A Personal Note
By Will Johnson
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.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.