PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Nearly 50 Ingalls employees were honored for their many years with the company. With that honor comes a new title.
"To build quality ships you've got to have the equipment to do it and you gotta have the people with the ability and the ambition," said Harry Jones. He's been with the company for 1978. "They only had an opening for an oiler. So I hired on as an oiler. Probably three days, four days into an oiler, they were short a mechanic so they had to reroute me as a mechanic."
He now works as a heavy equipment technician. Three new positions up the ladder and four children later, Harry said he still loves his job. "This job has always provided for them. I've sent all four to college," he added. "Me and the wife has been able to build a home."
Harry is now considered a Master Shipbuilder. It's not a title given lightly. It means he's served 40 years within the company.
"When I saw the steel and the pipe and everything, I saw the beginning of the ship being built and then I saw the end product, and I was like wow, we actually make those ships here," said Ingalls employee Denise Moore.
Denise now carries the title of Master Shipbuilder too. Her job is close to her heart. She met her husband at Ingalls 37 years ago. "We have three kids. We have two that are teachers. I have one that is presently working here," she said.
Denise's son served in the Navy and actually did so on one of the ships built right at Ingalls. She and Harry are being inducted into an elite class of workers. A class that takes hard work and dedication. "This is a blessing to be here 40 years," Denise said.
"I really really love doing what I do. I love this job," Harry added.
Harry and Denise will join 44 others inducted into the Master Shipbuilder class this year. More than 300 employees hold that title.