A Wall of Honor for Trade Workers

Whether they’re drillers, toolpushers or derrickmen, front-line workers in the oil and gas field – like many skilled trade workers – are unsung heroes. They spend long, arduous days away from family, often in hazardous locations. Their daily grind is always expected, seldom celebrated.

In other words, there’s no Oscar, Emmy or Golden Globe award on the rig.

But there are stories. And in one safety footwear providers’ view, there are “epic” stories of courage and commitment worth remembering and sharing in an era of skilled labor shortages.

That’s why a Wall of Honor was created by Red Wing Shoe Company, a provider of footwear as well as additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to roustabouts and other tradesmen and women. Unveiled this month, the Wall of Honor celebrates all kinds of skilled laborers’ accomplishments, as spoken in their own words and carried out through their work boots.

Red Wing asked for customer stories last year, received hundreds of submissions and selected 32 to highlight, along with their boots, on a physical Wall of Honor adorning its flagship store in Red Wing, Minn. In addition, a virtual Wall was “built” at www.redwingshoes.com/honor where the honorees’ inspiring tales – surviving scares, making critical repairs or getting up and getting it done each morning for decades – are on display.

The company’s CMO Dave Schneider says Red Wing has routinely received unsolicited notes from appreciative customers for more than 100 years and felt compelled to put some elbow grease into how they collected and curated these experiences at a time where the profession can be overlooked and ignored but is critically needed.

“It felt right to provide a space where their stories can live forever, paying respect to our customers’ boots and the remarkable work they have accomplished in their communities,” said Schneider.

One remarkable story is that of Eric Neece, a driller turned wind turbine repairman who, literally, followed his father’s footsteps in his Red Wings. His dad was a drilling consultant for a while with Parker Oil on rig 201. Decades later, he found himself on the very same rig pumping cement down a well using a new reverse-circulated method that, if it succeeded, would set a global record for the deepest hole to be cemented using that technique.

Wrote Neece: “When I stepped on that rig, it didn’t take long to hit me. The name and paint were different, but sure enough: number 201… Dad was no longer with us, but I know he was watching. And I made extra sure we set the world record to make him proud.”

Red Wing plans to continually maintain and rotate new stories, so RigUp readers are encouraged to submit their own epic moments here.

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