One of the nice things about this time of year is my annual visits to the regional winners of the Environmental Respect Awards competition. Sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection with assistance from CropLife magazine, the Environmental Respect Awards honors those retail outlets that are deemed “outstanding” in their stewardship efforts. During my visits, I get a chance to meet the people that make these outlets special up close and learn a little bit about their marketplace stories.
One recent visit was to the Crop Production Services (CPS) location in Boyce, LA. A newer location, CPS Boyce features all the latest in environmentally-friendly options such as sloped floors in the warehouses to contain spills, containment dikes and special Personal Protective Equipment for each employee.
The outlet also conducts a fair amount of community outreach. For the past 20 years, CPS Boyce has participated in its local 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters. More recently, the company took part in the area’s Susan B. Komen – Walk for the Cure event – something CPS Boyce hopes to make a regular part of its agenda in the years to come.
This fight against cancer took on an even more close-to-home aura recently for the facility. Not too long ago, one of the CPS Boyce’s employees named Russ was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma brain cancer. In addition, this employee’s sister, Allison, also received a cancer diagnosis at the same time.
“Of course with this affecting two of our co-workers within the same family, this was a heavy blow, not only to CPS, but our customers, community and our local representatives,” said Kathy Stokes, office manager at CPS Boyce. “We had a gun raffle and put together a crawfish boil. We had such an outpouring of love and donations from all involved. Our collections to date have been a little over $50,000.”
Since that time, Russ has completed radiation treatments and chemo therapy, been declared cancer-free and returned to work. Unfortunately, his sister lost her battle with cancer just before Christmas last year.
“Cancer is ugly, cruel and unfair,” said Stokes. “Nobody is exempt from cancer. It affects so many people, in all walks of life.”
As always, I am grateful for the chance to meet ag retailers that try to make a difference not only to their customers, but everyone else around them as well.