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Iraq War Brings Business Profits To Kenly Company

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KENLY, N.C. — With no end in sight to the war in Iraq, the business of defending democracy is dangerous for troops and profitable for one local company.

Federal Covers & Textiles, in Kenly, recently announced it would expand its operation to Selma, giving a much-needed boost to a community that the federal government describes as a "highly under-utilized business area."

The largest employer in Kenly, about 150 employees at the textile company churn out everything from Army duffle bags to bulletproof vests.

As the war lingers, business booms for the company.

"On the one hand, we do things that make money," said CEO Danny Byrd. "On the other hand, it's a war that we'd rather not be in, but we feel it's justified and we need to be there."

Byrd says he doesn't take his business personally, but as a Vietnam veteran he does recognize the clash of profit and patriotism.

"I feel good about what were doing," he said.

But as much as the company is motivated by profit, it is also motivated because of the lives that depend on what it produces.

Not only do employees make the products, they also test them. Employees often shoot the bulletproof vests on a clay backdrop to see if bullets penetrate.

For a company that only started making military products a year ago, it is now reaching a new level.


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