Reed’s Metals in Saltillo gives facility tour to local youth
Heather Stiles, left, gives a tour of Reed’s Metals on Wednesday morning to area youth taking part in Industrial Day, which introduces students to fields they might find interesting.
By Thomas Simpson
SALTILLO – Students with Heads Up Outreach spent a little of their spring break time Wednesday getting a small taste of work life at Reed’s Metals in Saltillo.
For more than five years, the company has supported Heads Up Outreach, a program partnered with the Salvation Army that gives area students in grades 3 through 12 the chance to participate in competitive sports.
On Wednesday, the manufacturing company hosted Industrial Day, where several children in the program got to tour the facility and see how the company makes its metal.
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Area students walk past a roll of coiled steel that is used to form the roofs used by Reed’s Metals in Saltillo.
Heather Stiles, marketing director for Reed’s Metals, said the company started out donating $50 a month to the outreach program but is now one of the main sponsors. Reed’s Metals provides money for uniforms, equipment and hotel rooms when the children travel to tournaments.
“We haven’t really had the chance to interact with the kids because they are in school, and we work constantly,” Stiles said. “It is spring break week, and some of these kids decided to stay home, so we are bringing them in today to show them who we are, why we are successful and how we are able to help them.”
Kerry Chambers is in his third year as Heads Up Outreach director. He believes Industrial Day is a great way for the kids not only to meet the people who support them, but give them a live look into a work environment.
“We hope our kids will learn self-discipline and develop a strong work ethic through our program,” he said. “Hopefully, they can apply those skills in the real world one day.”
The day started with the children meeting some of the Reed’s Metals employees and watching a presentation previewing their tour and providing safety tips.
Jeremy and Daniel Butler, owners of Reed’s Metals, popped in prior to the beginning of the tour to introduce themselves.
“They have a big heart for kids,” Chambers said about the Butlers. “It’s not just my outreach program either, but others they reach out to as well.”
Throughout the tour, the kids got to see every inch of the company, including the sales, accounting and design departments, the manufacturing and welding shops and the storage area.
“The tour was really nice, and it made me feel like I wanted to tell my parents about it and come back here,” said Delmar Brown, a junior at Tupelo High School. Brown joined Heads Up Outreach one month ago and said he has enjoyed every second of it.
Lakeisha Bowdry, mother of a student in the program, said she loves the opportunities Heads Up Outreach gives the children.
“It gives our high school boys a look at the different areas of work at a place like this,” said Bowdry, who is a teacher at Lawhon Elementary School. “They can have degrees in welding or engineering while having something to look forward to in the future.”
The team will play in a tournament through an organization owned by Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. During the tournament, the kids also will get a chance to tour AT&T stadium.
“We are blessed to be able to give back at any opportunity, especially to Coach Kerry and Heads Up Outreach,” Stiles said. “We just want to tell these kids to stick with the program, play sports and stay in school so they could grow up and get a job, maybe even for Reed’s Metals.”
For more information on Heads Up Outreach, contact the Salvation Army at (662) 842-9222, or call Chambers at (662) 706-2705.