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More than 150 employees of aerospace and defense companies gathered at Southern Arkansas Tech University today where Governor Asa Hutchinson thanked them for their part in manufacturing critical components for weapon systems that Ukrainians have deployed to defend their homeland against the Russian invasion.
Their work arms the world to defend freedom in Ukraine and many other countries, Governor Hutchinson told them.
“Your daily commitment to producing state-of-the-art and highly technical components and propulsion systems has made the difference for Ukraine,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Because of your work, Ukraine has surprised its invaders by a strong defense against the onslaught of a cruel invasion. Camden is in a critical front-line position to support the Ukrainians who are stopping the Russian army from overrunning their nation.
More than 2,700 workers in the Highland Industrial Park produce explosive munitions that are used in a variety of weapons, including tank killers, antiair (cq) defenses, and other missiles.
Representatives from various segments of the workforce attended the event. Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston noted the aerospace and defense sector is the Number One export from Arkansas. The Camden area workforce has been producing weapons since 1944.
“Over the decades, Camden-area workers and their companies have supported the front lines wherein the defense of freedom, first in Europe and the Pacific, and now in Ukraine and NATO countries,” Preston said.
Professor Kateryna Pitchford, a native of Ukraine who is an assistant professor at Central Baptist College in Conway, spoke to the employees. “No one expected this barbaric invasion in the 21st century in my home country of Ukraine. While Putin’s war is killing children and women, and destroying the peaceful way of life, your work here empowers the Ukrainian army by supplying defense weapons. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do to save Ukrainian lives. The Ukrainian army and the people will win this war. Glory to Ukraine!”
Dr. Pitchford was born in Dnipro, Ukraine. Many of her relatives and friends remain in Ukraine.