2007-05-12 / Front Page

Emporium employee off to Everest to join mission

Jon Keiper Jon Keiper An employee at the Emporium plant of GKN Sinter Metals is off to Mt. Everest as part of the company's support of an historic flight.

Jon Keiper, continuous improvement leader at the Emporium facility, will set up at base camp to assist with "Mission Everest." That's the GKN-sponsored first flight over the summit of the world's highest mountain via powered paraglider.

While the drama is unfolding at Mt. Everest, GKN employees across the nation are working in their local communities to raise $1 million for worthy causes around the world while attending to community service projects in their home towns.

Mission Everest pits two aviators against the forces of nature. They'll take off from the base camp at Syangboche, some 20 miles south of the mountain in eastern Nepal.

Once airborne, they will fly over glaciers toward Mount Everest before turning into the wind to circle and ascend to 33,000 feet. Then they'll turn to run with the wind across the summit.

The mission is spearheaded by Bear Grylls, one of the world's most renowned young explorers. Flying alongside will be Giles Cardozo, who has developed revolutionary f l y i n g m a c h i n e s capable of operating at h i g h altitudes.

They will be supported by a base camp team that includes engineers, meteorologists and medical

GKN has organized a trek for 20 people to the Mission Everest base camp. Each GKN location worldwide nominated two employees to participate. Nominations were submitted for final review of employee excellence.

Keiper, who lives with his family in St. Marys, and former Elk County resident Jim Gulnac, from GKN Conover, N.C., were among three employees who were selected to make the voyage.

At 29,035 feet high, Mt. Everest is so massive that it creates its own microclimate. Hurricane force winds of up to 200 mph blow. Snow and ice are permanent features above 17,000 feet and temperatures often drop to -80 Celsius. Never before have paragliders soared over it.

GKN has extended its Mission Everest to rally employees in support of community service activities. The company is working with the Global Angels Foundation to help the children of Africa by building new dormitories, providing fresh water, food and clothing, and providing children with education. GKN matches every contribution its employees make. The company also donates to Global Angels based on employee volunteer hours.

GKN Emporium employees will be volunteering their time to help with painting, construction projects and other work at the Grove Home, local playgrounds, the Cameron County Fairgrounds, and in downtown Emporium.

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