Last updated: August 25. 2013 2:20AM - 511 Views

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Many of you remember the napkin story.

Itís a story about saving the lives of American soldiers.

A tale of making sure those who serve this country overseas return home with two arms, two hands and 10 fingers to grab and hug their wives and mothers; and two legs, two feet and 10 toes to play ball with their sons and daughters.

Most of all, it is a story about heroes.

These heroes worked at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center during the Iraqi war. They were perplexed when hearing about roadside bombs blowing holes into American transport vehicles, killing or maiming the soldiers inside.

During a lunch break one day, they began brainstorming ideas on how to make the vehicles safer. They used a napkin to draw their ideas for a new armored plate. Within a month that idea went from the back of a napkin to being inserted on transportation vehicles, saving countless lives and preventing who knows how many injuries.

Their story ended up being told in newspapers across the country.

Today, a group of high-powered visitors will be touring the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center. They need to hear about the intellectual power and innovation that makes JSMC such a vital part of Americaís military industrial base. These procurement officials are from the Army and General Dynamics, which operates the government owned facility.

Keeping this facility open is about more than Abrams tanks. Itís about the many other vehicles and products it is capable of producing. Itís about making sure the United States has the manufacturing capacity needed to supply vital defense products. A greater reliance on foreign sourcing by the Pentagon cannot be allowed.

We hope these officials will study the faces of the people they will see on their tour today. They will see more than worker bees. These are skilled people who take pride in their work and love their country. Itís not unusual to see them have photos of American soldiers by their work stations.

These are people who can use the latest technology to improve efficiencies or draw an idea on a napkin that will save lives. Whatever it takes; thatís what they do.

You donít mothball places like JSMC for three years without hurting this nationís defense.

Thatís a fact that we hope theyíll clearly be able to understand after their tour.

ROSES AND THORNS: Being smart, fast or having a beautiful voice is enough to get you a ticket to the rose garden this week.

Rose: Inmates at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution helped construct prom decorations for Elida by building a 25-foot long streetscape of buildings set to a Hollywood theme.

Rose: To Samuel Shutt, of Bath High School, who was named a finalist for the 2013 National Merit Scholar Program. Samuel is the ninth National Merit Finalist in Bath SchoolĒs history.

Rose: To Emily Sreenan, of St. Charles School, who was the first girl in 30 years to win the overall Positive Addiction race. The seventh-grader ran the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 55 seconds.

Rose: To Hannah Beck, 17, of Lima who will be releasing her second CD, ďLost in You,Ē in June as well as singing at the LifeLight Music Festival in Bethany, Mo. She is the daughter of Jennifer and retired Allen County Sheriff Dan Beck.

Rose: The dilapidated American Mall is finally being torn down, with work to be finished this fall.

Rose: Lima Central Catholic High School teacher Deb Schenk and St. Charles teacher Kelly Buss were two of nine teachers in the Toledo Diocese to receive Gold Apple Awards for outstanding service.

Rose: To John Schnieders, who became the most winning baseball coach in Lima Central Catholic history this year, surpassing Pat Murphy.

Thorn: To Lima Senior High teacher Gary Jones, 59, who lost his job after admitting to trying to grab and kiss a student.

Thorn: To Bruce Monford, 49, of Lima who listed hours he did not work on his timecard as a housing inspector for the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Thorn: What is believed to be a coyote was seen roaming the parking lot at the old Wal-Mart complex on Cable Road early Friday. A McDonaldís employee told police the animal had growled and showed its teeth. When police arrived the animal began to charge officers. It was shot and killed.

PARTING SHOT: Golf is a lot like taxes. You drive hard to get to the green and then wind up in the hole

Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News.

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