Most days Janice Caudle can be found at her desk – on the computer, working the phone or doing the important paperwork that keeps Phoenix’s manufacturing division on track. Ms. Caudle is the company’s long-time contracts administrator, which means that she works with Phoenix V.P. Wes Tyler to keep that division organized and profitable.
But one day a few years ago, Ms. Caudle had to do some hands-on problem solving regarding Phoenix’s flag contract. And that eventually led her to Charles Koeper’s station in the manufacturing plant.
Mr. Koeper is one of the many faithful employees who have helped Phoenix make more than 2 million burial flags. Needless to say, Ms. Caudle was impressed.
“He’s just such a good worker,” she said. “He was just the most compassionate, patient trainer.”
Mr. Koeper was hired by Phoenix in 2004. His job is to ensure the quality of the burial flags Phoenix makes under its contract with the Department of Defense.
“I inspect the flags before they go to the packing station,” Mr. Koeper said.
That means he looks for loose threads, snipped stitching, and unraveled stars. He wants to make sure that no defected flags are shipped out and given to the families of the service men and women being honored at their deaths.
Mr. Koeper inspects at least 160 flags per day. Some days, he may check as many as 200.
“I like to make the customer happy with the product,” Mr. Koeper explained.
Speaking of being happy, Mr. Koeper seems quite happy to be living in his own apartment in Phoenix House, an affordable housing complex developed by Phoenix. Because it’s right across the street from the plant, he walks to work every day.
Ms. Caudle has watched Mr. Koeper’s progress through the years and is very proud of the contribution he’s made to Phoenix’s flag department.
“He’s just a good, hard-working person with a wonderful heart,” Ms. Caudle said. “He’s very meticulous, too.”