Ed Kurasz, a military veteran, sits in the pilot’s seat as President and CEO
November 11, 2020
Veterans Day, a federal holiday in the United States, is celebrated each year to honor military veterans – those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Copper and Brass Sales is proud to be led by a military veteran. Ed Kurasz, President and CEO of Copper and Brass Sales, previously served in the Air Force. While Copper and Brass Sales employs many veterans, today’s article will focus on Ed and his service.
Ed served in the US Air Force for six years, four years active duty and two years inactive duty, spending time in Texas, Arizona, and South Korea. So what was it that made Ed so interested in joining the military? Like many who enlist, Ed reached a point when he was 20 years old where he was not sure where he wanted to take his life. He had two years of college under his belt and knew that he wanted to finish his degree; by joining the Air Force, he could learn a skillset in the military that would help him further determine the direction he wanted to take in his life, while also complementing his career.
Upon joining the Air Force, Ed had the chance to see other parts of the world and gain some otherwise unheard of life experience. Before him was an opportunity to learn a lot about technology, and a future that provided many civilian jobs based within that framework. Learning electronics would be a great avenue in which to begin his career.
When Ed finished his term in the Air Force, he was sporting two degrees, was an NCO Distinguished Graduate and achieved the Meritorious Service Medal. The first degree was a Biomedical Equipment Associates Degree and the second a Bachelor’s Degree in Operations. He worked hard both day and night by going to school in the evenings four days a week and training full time in the Air Force during the day.
Ed’s role with the Air Force was as a Biomedical Equipment Repair Technician. He tended to an array of medical and dental equipment found in military hospitals: x-ray machines, ultrasound, laboratory equipment and even defibrillators. This experience allows him to be more than handy even today!
Anyone that knows Ed would say he has a positive outlook on life and the world. So even though he worked hard for long hours, he saw much of it as an enjoyable experience. His secondary responsibilities revolved around helping to setup the Air Force Air Transportable Hospital. This is just like a MASH unit where you would pick up and deploy this hospital anywhere in the world with 24-hours notice. That was something Ed really enjoyed doing.
During his Joint Services Deployment with Team Spirit 86’ in South Korea, Ed remembers the comradery felt by everyone in attendance. This was an opportunity for those who were commissioned and the NCOs to work together to make the hospital setup a success – where even medical officers helped setup tents. It was collaborative. This all occurred near the North Korean border and was a training exercise; practice in case North Korea invaded. Everyone always wanted to do a good job and feel successful.
It was during these training exercises that Ed become so driven and structured – traits he admits are sometimes seen as both positive and negative. They’ve helped keep Ed focused over the years. Military service is by definition a lesson in leadership. It is a diverse environment and a way to expose yourself to further knowledge and experience to different people and lifestyles. It was a lesson for Ed to see how everyone can come together, regardless of background or demographics, to focus on a mission and lead it to success. This is something he applies at Copper and Brass Sales today.
Ed believes that through trust, training, and tools, we can provide clear expectations and an environment to succeed. “A cohesive team out performs a non-cohesive team. Work on it as a team, treat others how you want to be treated, and don’t take anything for granted,” says Ed.
The education earned by Ed wasn’t just in his degrees and his military technology skillset; he also learned a lot about the United States of America and how we got to where we are today: through sacrifice and hard work.
So many go into the military during a period of peace knowing full well that they might get called up to serve and put their lives on the line to bring us back to a time of peace. “We send soldiers and Marines thousands of miles away and some give the ultimate sacrifice. That’s a hell of a thing to ask a person to do. The training and mindset required by those who are involved in these types of deployments is very difficult for the military personnel and their families,” said Ed.
Copper and Brass Sales is proud to support military veterans by specifically seeking them out in our recruitment process. We do this through Hire a Hero, an online job board for veterans and their families. Once a veteran has been hired, we provide them with all of the support afforded to them under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This allows us to grant military leaves of absence to those who are called for military duties where they will, for a specified period of time, continue to receive medical benefits and their paycheck.
This year we’ll be implementing an Honor Board at our locations as a way to honor our own military veterans. Active and retired military employees will be asked to share a photo of themselves on the board noting which branch of the military they served in. This will give the rest of the employees an opportunity to honor those who have, past or present, offered their lives to bring us peace.
A Hero Foundation, the 501 (c)(3) organization that runs Hire a Hero, says this: A true hero goes out of their way to help others and acts solely on instinct only considering the consequences of not acting at all. The smallest act of kindness can go a long way and hopefully we can inspire other to be heroic when the time has come, one person at a time.
So today, on Veterans Day, we ask that you take some time to honor a veteran and thank them for their service.