Indiana GM worker who delayed retirement to help with ventilator production honored by Pence

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Vice President Mike Pence honored a General Motors employee who delayed retirement to help with ventilator production amid the coronavirus pandemic plaguing the nation.

George Vandermeir, a GM employee of 43 years was recognized by Pence in his home state of Indiana, at a roundtable discussion at the GM/Ventec Ventilator Production Facility in Kokomo, Ind., on Thursday.

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"I just extended my retirement for another month or two, just to make sure this gets off the ground and everything works well so we can get these ventilators out," Vandermeir told "60 Minutes."

"I've never quite seen anything like this," Vandermeir told Pence, who is the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, according to a transcript provided to Fox News. "It is absolutely amazing what our companies have done...nothing gets in the way. We move roadblocks."

He added, "I've been very proud to be a part of it."

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At one point the vice president and former Indiana governor asked Vandermeir what the hardest part had been for him.

"I'm the quality manager in the Marion Metal Center, and I make sheet metal," he said. "And the first assignment I got here was to become a subject-matter expert on the oxygen accumulator, and there's these little parts that I'm trying to teach people to put together ... They got screws about [the size] you have in your glasses, and I'm trying to put them in there and struggling ... Just going through this and learning the process ... it was very well detailed."

Vice President Mike Pence gestures while visiting the General Motors/Ventec ventilator production facility in Kokomo, Ind., Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Vice President Mike Pence gestures while visiting the General Motors/Ventec ventilator production facility in Kokomo, Ind., Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

But he said, "We took our General Motors talent from that and ... we just continue to make them better. Every single day we're making this process better."

He laughed, ending with, "But just getting to know a ventilator from sheet metal was a bit difficult."

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Pence applauded him, "Great job, George. Great job."

The vice president wore a mask after the controversy around his decision not to wear one at the Mayo Clinic before the tour, which he addressed Sunday night during Fox News' virtual town hall, telling moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum that he "should have worn a mask" despite the fact that he and everyone around him had been tested for the virus regularly.