Local company honored at Chiefs game for making hiring veterans a priority

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fans at Arrowhead Stadium stood up and cheered on Sunday as the Black Daggers, the official U.S. Army Special Ops Command Parachute Team, fell from the sky and landed on the turf before kickoff.

The Army demonstration highlighted the Chiefs' Salute to Service game on Veterans Day.

The pre-game ceremony honored veterans and local companies supporting the military. On the field, taking special pride in our veterans, were officials with Kraft Tank Corporation from KCK.

“We make a point when we are in the hiring process, when we see veterans, we really try to bring them on,” Brian Pursley with Kraft Tank said.

The trucking company is proud to have so-called "citizen soldiers" on the payroll.

Mike Paustian is a technician at Kraft Tank who also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. Paustian said his military training equipped him for success in the private sector.

“Coming here, it wasn’t that hard to transition,” said Paustian, who spent a year on deployment in Iraq and Kuwait in 2010. “I soon figured out what they do and what I used to do, and I actually am still doing in the Reserves.”

And Paustian’s certainly won the admiration of his peers at Kraft Tank.

“He’s consistently shown to be one of our best employees,” Pursley said.

Tracy Smith is another Kraft Tank employee who learned the finer points of her trade while serving in the Army. Smith is a Sergeant First Class with 17 years in the Reserves. She keeps a close eye on the bottom line as the accounting controller at Kraft Tank.

“That’s where the Army helps me, too, because I have no problem being respectful in coming out and saying exactly what I need to say without being offensive. But it does get a point across and people say, ‘OK, roger that,'" Smith said.

Smith believes her company is a prime example of the benefits local companies reap when hiring military veterans.

“It’s true. We’re excellent employees,” Smith said. “Hire veterans.”

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