Armed Forces Day commemorated at Pantex
The Pantex Plant honored veterans Wednesday at its annual ceremony to commemorate Armed Forces Day. Members of the Pantex Fire Department Honor Guard raised the American flag as attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem. Pantex has been holding an Armed Forces Day ceremony for more than 15 years to honor those who served.
Pantex has a long history of supporting military personnel and currently employs 782 military veterans amongst its workforce of approximately 3,100 people.
Donations delivered to Snack Pak 4 Kids
For the past two weeks, a group of volunteers at Pantex has been collecting donations for the Snack Pak 4 Kids program, gathering an impressive amount of food for needy children.
Pantexans donated more than $1,000 to the effort, as well as a variety of food items, which were placed in barrels located throughout the plant.
Snack Pak 4 Kids is an Amarillo-based charity started in 2010 to provide backpacks with snacks in them for children to take home for the weekend. The program is designed to provide food to hungry children when they are away from school and unable to access a reliable source of sustenance. The program serves over 4,000 students in 24 school districts in the Texas Panhandle.
The volunteers this week delivered 5,000 Pop Tarts, 82 jars of peanut butter, as well as other snacks and money donated by Pantexans.
The effort was led by Pantexans Josh and Tracy Cunningham, Rick and Lisa Jones and Sherry Philyaw.
Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander, USSTRATCOM, visited Pantex Tuesday to tour various facilities and conduct an all-hands meeting with Pantex workers. Haney thanked Pantexans for the work they perform to help maintain a credible nuclear deterrent, thus ensuring the safety of the United States.
Haney briefed Pantexans about the responsibilities and capabilities of USSTRATCOM and discussed how the work done at Pantex factors into that mission. Haney said as the number of weapons in the U.S. stockpile decreases, the work done at Pantex to ensure the safety and reliability of each nuclear weapon becomes even more important.
Haney told Pantexans that although they do not wear a military uniform, the work they do to protect America is as crucial as the work done by those who do.
When B&W Pantex Science Bowl Coordinator Debra Halliday decided to take her 9-year-old grandson with her to the national Science Bowl competition in Washington DC last month, she thought he would have a memorable trip, but she didn’t know just how memorable it would be.
Halliday said her grandson, Griffin Koehn, was with her during the awards ceremony when Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz was congratulating the winners and presenting trophies. As Moniz exited the stage, he stopped for a moment to talk with Griffin and posed for a photo that will no doubt become a cherished memento.
“Secretary Moniz was so gracious,” Halliday said. “He shook hands with Griffin, and Griffin said to him ‘When I grow up, I want to be a scientist just like you.”
Halliday said her grandson enjoyed being a runner during the competition, as well as visiting some of the historic sites in Washington. But getting to meet the secretary of energy was the best part of the entire trip.
Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race
A team of five competitors from Panhandle Junior High School capped off an eventful visit last week to the nation’s capital with a second place finish in the electric car race competition at the National Science Bowl.
Coach Kevin Meyer said the team competed hard, but was barely edged out at the finish line of the final race.
“Our team was very proud of that finish, only 15/100 of a second difference from first place,” Meyer said. “We had a great time and will treasure the experience forever.”
The academic portion of the Science Bowl is supplemented each year for middle school students with a battery powered car race that gives competitors the chance to apply their knowledge to designing a car to compete on a 20-meter track.
The Panhandle team won the right to represent the area at the national competition by besting 40 other teams in the Pantex Middle School Science Bowl competition in February. They were joined on the trip by a team from Lubbock High School, which won the high school competition.
The Department of Energy sponsors the Science Bowl competition each year to give students across the country a chance to compete in a contest of science and math knowledge. More than 50 regional competitions are conducted, with the winners having the chance to represent their area in Washington.
Debra Halliday, Science Bowl coordinator, traveled with the team as a sponsor and said the students relished the chance to demonstrate their knowledge of science and math, and to visit some of the iconic locations in Washington.
“It was such a pleasure to see this team do so well this year. They worked hard for a long time to receive this recognition,” Halliday said.
The members of the team are: Bradlee Brandvik, Arianna Hann, Samuel Koone, Noah Ford and Grace Kuehler.