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Duty in life and war

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 07:00
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Ed Adams
Ed Adams in WWII, and today with his wife, Peggy.

They are not famous, nor are they looking for fame. But when a group of 25 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans who work at or have retired from Snap-on Inc. landed in Baltimore en route to the nation’s capital to visit war memorials, they were recognized and greeted with a standing ovation. This flight and another were made possible last year by Snap-on’s donation of $50,000 to the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit organization that honors American veterans for their sacrifices.

Since the inaugural Honor Flight, Snap-on has donated another $50,000. Snap-on has hosted three flights to date, one with 25 veterans and two others with 26 veterans apiece.

All flights also included a like number of companions — spouses, children and lifelong friends — traveling with the veterans.

There are two more confirmed flights scheduled for June and October; each flight reserved for 26 associates and their companions.

This commitment to the company’s veterans should come as no surprise when you consider that William Rayburn, former chairman and CEO, and Nick Pinchuk, current chairman and CEO, are veterans. True to the cause, both attended the inaugural visit to the capital last year.

Every veteran has his own story to tell. But no matter the individual details, the running theme for all is that they were willing to give their all for their country. And some came pretty close to doing just that.

Take Ed Adams, for example. Adams, a 32-year Snap-on associate who retired as the chief engineer in research and engineering, defied all odds in WWII — at least for a while. But as a B-26 pilot who had been on 28 missions in the European theater, the odds finally caught up with him when his plane was shot down. Of the six crew members, only he and his radioman survived. After being thrown from the plane and pulling his ripcord, he landed remarkably right next to the plane, again defying all odds.

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