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 Hyster-Yale Plant Manager Rodney Wilson hands the key to a newly donated forklift to Madison Southern High School Principal Brandon Watkins Thursday morning surrounded by several students attending the presentation.

Madison Southern High School will be on the move — with heavy objects — thanks to Hyster-Yale’s donation of a forklift Thursday morning.

A presentation marked the charitable event by welcoming several students and faculty members, along with Principal Brandon Watkins, to view the machine and enjoy a catered lunch.

The newly refurbished forklift, formerly used in the plant, looked shiny and bright decked out in Southern colors, thanks to a paint job by Hyster-Yale employees Billy Masters and Josh Dickerson. Both the plant and school’s logos stood out on the machine’s side.

“You guys have really taken pride in Madison Southern,” said Watkins. “We appreciate that more than you know. It’s great to have community partners and businesses that will work with us and support us. We want to do the same and support you all.”

In a thank you letter to Hyster-Yale, Watkins listed many ways the forklift could or will be utilized, such as moving heavy sports and band equipment, custodial and food service needs and moving school supplies.

“It saves a lot of time, energy and people for us to be a little more self sufficient and be able to take care of things we need to,” explained Watkins.

The principal said he hopes the school’s agriculture along with construction and engineering classes will take ownership and pride in the new mechanical addition and be able to care for it and move items in their shops

In the long term, Watkins said he would like for the high school to have a program to certify students to operate the forklift, which would give them an advantage for certain jobs after graduation.

Watkins noted his college job at Tractor Supply required him to operate a forklift.

“We are going to do the best job we can to prepare kids for life after high school to be able to go to college, get a job and start a career,” said Watkins.

Plant manager Rodney Wilson said Hyster-Yale not only wants to be an employer of choice, but a community of choice. Having a good relationship with the school system benefits both the school and the plant for future development.

“Being able to make sure they have what they need is part of that relationship building,” Wilson said. “We had the opportunity and were glad to provide (the forklift) for them.”

Hyster-Yale Materials Manger and Southern parent Bill Cox said he was thankful to work at a company that gives back to the community.

Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.

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