Coweta Business Aims to Hire Veterans After WWII Pilot Inspired Company Years Ago

Wednesday, November 10th 2021, 6:05 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Coweta business is making it part of its mission to hire veterans whenever possible after the company hired an 80-year-old WWII pilot who inspired them.

VIP Technology is a small business off Highway 51 in Coweta, with a big appreciation for veterans, and the way they approach work.

At the company's warehouse, there are cables and blinking lights, because their work focuses on computers, the internet and phones.

But up on a wall in the office, is a picture that keeps a WWII pilot's legacy alive.

"Inevitably, this is what happens. They walk through this room and they go, 'Tell me about that picture, what's the story behind it?' VP of Sales Chris Leffingwell said. “And then I have the opportunity to tell them about Dub and then I'll say something like, 'He's the reason you're here.’”

Leffingwell got to know Durward Hall, who went by "Dub,” at a Coweta coffee shop. Leffingwell hired Dub in 2003 when he was 80. He died three years later.

"I hired Dub because I thought, you know what I'm gonna help out somebody who's just having a hard time finding a job,” Leffingwell said. “He worked out really well so it got me thinking, 'is this a military thing, or is it just Dub's just unique?"

On Wednesday, the small company of about 30 people has five employees who have served, or are serving in the military.

"I love what I do,” David Woods said.

Woods served in the military for 14 years and is currently a Staff Sgt in the National Guard.

"Companies can go more than, 'Thank you for your service,' and say, "Hey, I need your service,’” he said.

Employee Mark Jackson served in both the Air Force and the Navy Reserves. His company, PCRX, merged with VIP.

"We're all small business owners that came together to form one larger company, and so it still has that small company feel to where you really kinda know people,” Jackson said.

While there isn't a picture of Dub in the office, a moment in history was captured and is displayed on the wall, showing Dub flying a B-29 over Japan in 1945.

"And he's four hours ahead of the Enola Gay, as a decoy, for the atomic bomb,” Leffingwell said.

That picture was signed by Dub, as a gift for Leffingwell.

“This is a crazy story -- when he was 17, he went into the Army," Leffingwell said. “By the end of six weeks, he's flying a B-29."

Dub's work ethic, character and legacy have changed the way this company hires and right now, they are looking to fill four positions.

"I think it demonstrates their value outside of military service -- that they still have a mission,” Leffingwell said.