Heroes on the Homefront: Sears

Will Lorick has worked for Sears for 24 years, the first nine of which came while he was in the Navy Reserves.
Will Lorick has worked for Sears for 24 years, the first nine of which came while he was in the Navy Reserves.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Will Lorick's job puts him in position to talk about Sears' support of the military.

His experience proves what he says is more than talk.

Lorick spent 11 years in the Navy and during the nine years he was in the Reserves, he started working at Sears, a relationship that meant one side never had to worry about getting in the way of the other.

"I had to drill one weekend a month and I had two weeks a year," said Lorick, the store coach of the Oglethorpe Mall Sears. "Then if I got deployed, like I did for three months one time, it was very comforting to work for a company that wasn't going to replace you when you're trying to become a better person and better manager and support the country in the way you should."

That was in the '80s.

And one of the nation's largest retailers continues to support the military in that way and others today.

Sears offers a military mentoring program and through its Heroes at Home initiative, has partnered with Rebuilding Together, a national organization that retrofits the homes of soldiers who become disabled.

On a personal level, the company also maintains the salary of deployed associates, who are not going overseas to get rich.

"It's a huge weight off of their minds, because most military families, the wives or depending on who's in the military, they really become a single parent at that point," says Lorick, who started with Sears 24 years ago working in the stock room and worked his way into the company's management program. "They're responsible for everything. So it's a big help to them to know that their level of income is going to stay what it was prior to the deployment."

But employees at the Oglethorpe Mall Sears don't have to look overseas for signs of their company's social conscience.

They see it on the wallboard honoring local military heroes and feel it walking into the store that led the Southeast region in in-store donations to the Heroes at Home program.

"It's good that you've got a company like Sears that will help out," says Willie Coleman, who went to work for Sears after 20 years in the Army. "Some companies won't. But I think we put 100 percent into the military."

"We had 100 percent participation in our store donating to Heroes at Home," added Lorick. "And every part-time cashier that donated in the store, they do make a difference. And it's nice to see."

And at Sears, easy to see as well.