Waupaca Foundry Avatar

Waupaca Foundry

Culture - Nov 10, 2023

Skills Learned In the Military Prove Invaluable in Gray Iron Foundry

Kim Viduski | Waupaca Foundry

“When I was hired, working at Waupaca Foundry was one of the most desired jobs in the area,” Terrence says. And the satisfaction of making castings and learning how many different industries iron castings are used has kept him excited and motivated about his work, however challenging it may be. “It takes mental and physical toughness and attention-to-detail to be able to work in a [foundry] molding environment, but those are the traits the Army helped instill in me,” Terrence says.


Terrence May, Waupaca Foundry's Plant 1 department trainer located in Waupaca, Wisconsin.

Terrence served just short of 21 years in the United States Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard. “At the time I enlisted, college was not an option for me, so I joined the Army mostly because of family tradition. I recently counted the [combined] years of service by my uncle, father, four older brothers, three nephews, two nieces, my son, and myself. My family has provided over 129 years of volunteer service to the armed forces. With the exception of 1965 to 1970, my family has had someone in the service since World War II.” He is proud of that legacy and knows his entire family of servicemen and women believe serving their country was worth every single minute of it. In fact, when someone thanks him for his service, he always responds with “You are worth it.” If they say they, too, are a veteran, he changes his response to, “Together we served.”

Terrence was never deployed, but he did have an experience that had a profound effect on his life. When I arrived at basic training at Ft. McClelland, Alabama on 29 June 1984, I saw the woman who would become my wife.” She too, was a new recruit. “After breakfast that day, all of the recruits were loaded onto a bus to go to our training unit,” Terrence says. “I was already seated when my future wife got on the bus. She had…and still has…the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. I didn’t even realize I was staring at her until she dropped her luggage on my lap.” After being stationed in Germany, several hundred letters back and forth, and monthly 3-day weekends that included a six-hour drive each way to visit her, he proposed. They recently celebrated 37 years of marriage     
Terrence was an Army military police specialist for seven years before he decided to leave the service. “When I left active duty, Desert Storm had kicked in and I was concerned about my wife and two sons, so I headed back to Wisconsin,” he says. But it wasn’t long before he returned to duty. “I took one year off from military service and then felt the need to serve again. So, I joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard as a cook.” During his 14-year tenure, he was assigned to units in Wisconsin Rapids, Waupaca, Janesville, Portage and Clintonville. “I with other cooks, prepared meals for units as small as 25 soldiers and as large as 1,100 soldiers.” 

It was a conversation over a meal that motivated Terrence to look to Waupaca Foundry for employment. “While assigned to the National Guard Unit in Clintonville, I also worked at a foundry in Shawano,” Terrence explains. “I was chatting with my first sergeant (1SG) after a meal, and he knew I was working hard to support a family with three children. He recommended I apply at Waupaca Foundry, so I did. It was months later that I learned that 1SG was Waupaca Foundry, retired Director of Operations, Keith Penny.”

Terrence serves as the department trainer for the molding department at Plant 1. Of his 29 years at Waupaca Foundry, his first five months were spent as a melt operator. Since then, he has been in the molding department holding various positions, including sand shoveler, machine operator, hot checker, and forklift operator. His demeanor and natural instinct to serve others makes him well-respected among his colleagues. Waupaca Foundry Lead Translator, Ann Santos says, “He is a great resource for everything. If he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find it for you. But, she adds with a laugh, “he always knows!” She concludes, “He is a great person, co-worker and friend.”

And very worthy of thanks for his service to both his country and Waupaca Foundry.

Waupaca Foundry is proud to employ many men and women who are veterans. Ten percent of our employees have served in uniform, and we thank them for their service. 
#employee-spotlight #veteran #waupaca

Cast your own future.

Join the industry leader and be part of the legacy of pride
Apply Now