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Two uniformed men talk on radios
Hayes, left, and Col. Bill Humes tested satellite phones at the U.S. Army V Corps headquarters while based in Ansbach, Germany, earlier this spring.
Cooperative spirit

Supporting those who serve abroad

"Caring about each of our employees as a person before anything else... to me, that’s what sets CHS apart.”
Aug 30, 2022

This spring, when Charlie Hayes got word he’d be deployed overseas, he knew he could rely on his McPherson colleagues while he was away.  

"In the 19 years I’ve been in the U.S. Military, 15 of those in the reserves, I haven’t worked with a team as supportive and encouraging of my service — and the complications that can come with it — as CHS,” says Hayes, environmental health and safety specialist, CHS pipelines and terminals.

Supporting service 

As part of his service as a Navy Reserve chief petty officer, Hayes attends an annual two-week training as well as monthly weekend trainings, but he could also be deployed for larger stints throughout the year. Before joining CHS in 2017, Hayes found the time away could be viewed as a burden by his civilian colleagues.

“I try to avoid disruptive deployments as much as I can, but the duty can be invasive at times,” says Hayes. “Previous teams I was on felt they were getting work dumped on them by an unreliable teammate, but the CHS team continues to surprise me by how much they rally to help however they can when I’m called away.”

Most recently, Hayes was deployed with just 72 hours’ notice to support operations in Poland and Germany as the war in Ukraine began. The CHS human resources team rushed to help him initiate military leave procedures, while the environmental health and safety team took charge of the critical tasks he’d have to delegate. 

“The teamwork was so impressive, especially on such short notice,” he says. “Everyone was so eager to lend a hand.”

CHS employees pose for a group photo
A tight-knit environmental health and safety team bonded with a team-building outing in Bozeman, Mont., before Hayes was deployed. Back row, left to right: Tim Schwindt, Brad Kimble, Mike Hubenett, Joey Phillips, Jake Hover, Megan Hopwood, Chris Lockmer. Front row, left to right: Ian Muller, Charlie Hayes, Dale Potter.

Help back home 

Hayes anticipated he’d be gone for a couple of weeks. But weeks eventually stretched into 94 days. 

“This was the longest I had ever been away,” says Hayes. “My CHS colleagues stayed in touch to wish me well and offer a hand. They brought my family meals, offered rides to my family and organized a gathering to welcome me back. It was like a member of their family was deployed, not just a coworker.”

Hayes says the support he and his family received while he was deployed speaks volumes about the character of his colleagues, but also reflects the culture of safety at CHS.

“The basis of any culture built on safety comes down to caring about each of our employees as a person before anything else,” he says. “This was a prime example of the company’s values of safety and the cooperative spirit in action to support the community at large. To me, that’s what sets CHS apart.” 

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