The Ohio veteran and the United worker is the first hononred in such a way.
United staffer Mark Lehman was in for a surprise when he arrived for work on the morning of Dec. 5 in Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. Walking into the hangar to start the day as a lead ground service equipment technician, Lehman was greeted by family, friends, colleagues, and a surprise unveiling ceremony.
Asked by the group, the Navy veteran and the United worker of 30 years, pulled next to an American flag mounted on an aircraft, only that his name — “Cpl. Mark Lehman” — written on the side of a B737-9 jet. The 52-year-old is the first to be honored by United as part of November greetings to veterans, Cleveland.com reports.
Ever wondered how it would feel to have your name on a plane? pic.twitter.com/Uu8uaBMjn4
— United (@united) December 3, 2017
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“I really think veterans will appreciate the see of a veteran to be honored in this way. We hope to expand the program beyond just veterans, to others, what can we say of the United heroes,” Jim Casey, United senior manager of operational transformation in Chicago, told the outlet.
Specifically, the airline will begin emblazoning the names of the heroes of the sides of planes “that will fly for a certain period of time,” Casey said. According to his friends and family, Lehman is the perfect first birthday.
United honoured as the father of two for his military service from 1983-1987, including a tour in Okinawa. The airline also acknowledged his passion for volunteering in the community, of the tent on high school drama productions, to provide food and coffee to the local police. Lehman also gives a lot of his free time to outdoor Patios for the Patriots, a nonprofit that builds backyard patios for veterans.
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Patio’s for the Patriots co-founder Jason Geyser described Lehman as a “big part” of the volunteer organisation since its inception two years ago. “He is the most selfless person I have ever met. Mark has taken vacation days to come out and work a whole day in the hot sun just to help other veterans,” said Geyser Cleveland.com.
Meanwhile, Lori Lehman knew that her husband would be “probably choked up, then simply speechless,” to receive the award, but that he more than deserved award.
“He works hard for everyone that he works with volunteers,” she said. “Very dedicated, meticulous with his work, worry about anything, only believes in what he is doing.”
Although Lehman said he “almost cried” when he saw that his name just below the cockpit, he described United’s new campaign to honor fellow vets as simply “incredible.”
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“Sometimes, as a veteran, if you’re serving sometimes you wonder if people really care, and even when you get out, do people really care that I was in the marine Corps,” he said. “And this company had a way of saying,” You know what? It matters. It makes what you’re doing’ … so I totally appreciate.”
“It’s something I never expected beyond my wildest belief.”