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Who’s behind HURST Jaws of Life? Louis Peterson, for one. Louis is toward the front end of the manufacturing process in HURST’s Shelby, N.C., plant. Part of his job is taking raw material – 12-, 15- and 20-foot lengths of steel – and cutting it down to sections to build tool parts. The rest of the time he’s working on HURST Jaws of Life’s Airshore rescue strut, the same rescue strut that helped shore up the walls of the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. In fact, Louis, who first started at HURST in 1989, built the company’s first Airshore rescue strut.

He thinks about the end use of the tools a lot while he works.

"We have a banner on the wall that says, ‘You Don’t Get a Second Chance,’” he said. “That means we build the tools and we build them right the first time. If anyone has to be rescued, I’m confident the tools will work.

He spends free time with his wife and together they like to try their luck on the slot machines at Cherokee. Don’t ask him how he did this past weekend (it wasn’t good, he said), but you can ask him about his pets: a horse that’s over 28 years old; a 1 ½-year old German Shepard with enough energy for all them; and, two cats, two parakeets and a goldfish.

Despite that active home, he’s also happy coming to work each morning at HURST Jaws of Life.

“I don’t mind coming to work,” he says. “Everyone is really friendly and outgoing. Everyone will help you in any way they can. I don’t mind coming to work at all.”