Could You Be Worker of the Year?

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Do you embody the American spirit? Do you work hard, and are not afraid to sweat? Is your mother proud of you? Most important of all, could you use an extra $100,000? If you can answer yes to all those questions, you might be just what Dickies is looking for in their American Worker of the Year search.

It certainly helps if your job allows you to incorporate Dickies apparel -- men's and women's work pants, shorts, shirts, denim, outerwear, school wear and the like -- in your working wardrobe. Previous honorees have included teachers, an oil field roughneck, farmers, builders, an electrical lineman, and soldiers. In 2009, agriculture teacher and horse trainer Michael McGee of Broken Bow, Okla., was crowned the Dickies American Worker of the Year.

"My mother nominated me," said the humble 25-year-old cowboy who owns a horse training farm, is an agricultural teacher and an adviser for the Future Farmers of America. "This has been an amazing experience to serve." In addition to keeping his day jobs, over the past year McGee has been a spokesperson and interacted a lot with the media, which is not something a small-town Oklahoma boy is accustomed to.

"My faith is the reason I've achieved and accomplished the things I have," he says. "I pray daily and I'm active in church, which has helped me overcome the big challenges and the little things I face on a daily basis."

McGee says his brother Aaron, who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor at age 5, is a real inspiration and mentor to him. "I've seen miracle after miracle with him," McGee says. Today, his brother is a successful adult, working as an EMT.

So what advice does McGee have for those entering the contest in hopes of taking his place next year? "Be real honest in answering the questions, and talk about the challenges you've overcome and the goals you've set." The entry form, found at WorkeroftheYear.com, requires you to answer the questions, "What does hard work mean to you?" and "Give us an example of how you exemplify the American worker." And if, like McGee, you're too shy to nominate yourself, you can have someone nominate you, and they'll get a certificate for $5 off on their next Dickies purchase at Sears.com, Kmart.com or Dickies.com for their efforts.

This year, the contest will recognize six regional finalists with $5,000 each and one grand prize winner as the Dickies American Worker of the Year, with an award of $100,000. All winners will be announced on Labor Day (Sept. 6, 2010). But you'd better hurry -- the deadline is July 15.

"Dickies is proud to recognize hard-working Americans who are responsible for keeping this country moving," said Chris Prokopeas, vice president of marketing for Dickies. "America was built on hard work and perseverance, values that still ring true today, and we continue to honor those that go above and beyond in their daily lives."

But according to McGee, you don't have to win a contest to see your American worker dreams come true. "I can't speak to the larger cities, but in rural areas I see a lot of job opportunities. I think there's hope if you're willing to work hard and put in an honest day's effort."

Although McGee has had a great time as the American Worker of the Year and would highly recommend entering the contest, he is more than happy to pass along the honor and return to focusing on training horses, teaching school and starting a new crop of students on their FFA projects in September. Oh, and he's also looking forward to spending time with his new wife. McGee is getting married on Friday, once again making his mother proud.

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