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Gilbert and Grand Design co-owner Don Clark with

Gilbert Hodges and Grand Design co-owner Don Clark with Patriotic Employer award

In a ceremony this morning (Jan. 20), Middlebury, Ind.-based Grand Design RV Co. was presented with a Patriot Award by the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The award declares Grand Design as a “Patriotic Employer” for its support of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. The award was requested by Gilbert Hodges, a Grand Design employee who recently returned to working on the production line for the manufacturer’s Momentum fifth-wheel toy hauler after having served a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Hodges served with an engineering group and was stationed at various locations, including Marine and Army bases. Grand Design President Don Clark, who co-owns the two-year-old company with partners Ron and Bill Fenech, told RVBUSINESS.com that Hodges is a “fine, upstanding young man and we’re thrilled to have him back home safe and sound, and we welcome him back to the Grand Design family.” Clark, who deflected any honors onto Hodges, said the award is proudly displayed in his office, directly above a framed and folded United States flag. “Sometimes it’s a good thing to step back and remember the freedoms and liberties afforded to us as American citizens, and then to remember that it’s the sacrifices of the American men and women serving in the military that gives us those freedoms,” Clark said. “Those sacrifices include being put in harm’s way and being away from their loved ones and their children. We’re the ones who benefit from their sacrifices.”