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Blanchard Machinery, Employees Aim to Be Force for Good Through Joe's Wish

Wed March 29, 2023 - Southeast Edition #7
Eric Olson - CEG CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


Katherine Blanchard Whittle
Katherine Blanchard Whittle
Katherine Blanchard Whittle

With its 750 employees and their families in mind, South Carolina's Blanchard Machinery last fall launched an internal foundation, Joe's Wish, to provide emergency relief funds to its people during times of hardship.

The Columbia-based dealership, with 17 branch locations across every sector of the Palmetto State, started Joe's Wish to honor Joe Blanchard, the company's president for 26 years until his passing in 2022.

His daughter, Katherine Blanchard Whittle, is the director of Joe's Wish, and a member of the employee relations team at Blanchard Machinery. She said Joe's Wish was formed in the spirit of the benevolence her late father always showed not only to his employees, but to anyone in need.

"Joe's Wish is a foundation we launched in January after having started working on it last September," Whittle explained. "Our employees really wanted a collective way to help each other, as well as our community. The primary goal and mission of Joe's Wish is to give back to our employees in times of emergent and critical needs."

She added that the company has applied for Joe's Wish to become a 501(c)(3) charity, meaning Blanchard employees enroll in contributing to it from part of their pay. Additionally, a 100 percent company match also goes toward building the fund.

"It allows us to help employees, and, beyond that, whatever is left over goes to helping our communities," Whittle noted. "Our philanthropic mission is hunger and shelter, so we will give back to local and statewide food banks, Habitat for Humanity, and the like."

Blanchard Children Taught to Be Selfless

Joe Blanchard instilled a sense of altruism in Whittle and her two brothers, Boyd and Rozier, when they were children, she said, while setting the same tone in his company (Boyd now serves as Blanchard Machinery's current president, and Rozier is the executive vice president).

"Dad was a little more private in his giving, which I totally understand," Whittle explained. "There was a lot he did where he did not want recognition, and Joe's Wish is not meant to undo that, but our employees have said they really want the opportunity to give back under the Blanchard brand and be that collective force for good."

One of Whittle's earliest memories is going to a Habitat for Humanity project to build homes with her father and brothers when she was only 5 years old.

"At ages 5, 8 and 9 years old we were not contributing much — maybe hitting a nail with a hammer here, or using a screwdriver there — but, in the end, Dad wanted us kids to give the keys to the house to the new owners," she recalled. "I remember that moment so vividly, and it is something that has always stuck with me — using the Blanchard name and what we were able to do to impact those who are less fortunate. In South Carolina, unfortunately, the number of homeless and hungry people is far too high, so this is our way to give back."

Blanchard Machinery Among Best S.C. Dealers

On its business side, Blanchard Machinery is the state's exclusive Cat construction and power equipment dealer, and has been supplying top quality equipment sales, rental, parts, service and customer training to customers since 1982.

Besides its Columbia headquarters, the company has the state covered with branch locations from the Upstate, through the Midlands to Aiken in the west, to Hilton Head Island and the Charleston area along the coast, and north to Rock Hill, just south of Charlotte.

For more information on Blanchard and its line of CAT equipment, visit www.blanchardmachinery.com.




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