For Neil Namauu, it's not just his first time crossing the Atlantic Ocean but also the chance to actually attend the Olympics in person.
The Kennecott Utah Copper worker is one of 80 employees of parent company Rio Tinto Inc. whom the company is flying to London from around the world with tickets to events at the Summer Games that are scheduled to open on July 27.
Namauu, 43, Herriman, was one of four Kennecott workers who won the trip to the Olympics from Rio Tinto, a sponsor of the Games that is donating the ore for the medals.
Called "Olympic Heroes," the four were nominated by fellow workers for the award. Namauu was nominated by a member of the company's security detail.
"Neil is a very caring person, and he takes a lot of time to make everybody feel welcome," said Anna Wiley, general manager of the Kennecott refinery. "Sometimes our security personnel, when you work in precious metals, can feel a little left out, and this particular security officer nominated Neil based on how he goes out of his way to make him feel welcome and help him in his day's duties."
More than 70 Kennecott employees were nominated by co-workers based on the values of accountability, teamwork, integrity and respect, said Justin Jones, a Kennecott spokesman.
"The initial list was narrowed to 20 nominations that were sent to the international level and from the 20, four were selected from Kennecott," he said.
Namauu has worked for Kennecott a little more than seven years and is a control room operator.
"So there's a flight for us to go to London and our three events [to attend] will be soccer, handball and track and field," he said.
But Namauu and his wife (each employee can take someone else) are not just confining their trip to the Olympics. They are using some of his vacation time to see more of Europe, starting the day after the couple arrive in England.
"We'll hop on the rail and go to Paris for a few days and check out Paris," he said. "Then we'll come back, hang out with some families in Manchester and after that, we'll do what's called the 'Hop and Go,' so we'll just tour all of London."
The last three days will be attending Olympic events.
Namauu said he was helped in setting up the itinerary by other Rio Tinto employees, including Wiley and another in Canada.
"Everyone's helped out," he said. "That's what's made it a better experience for us."
Kennecott Copper Olympic Heroes
Neil Namauu of Herriman, a Kennecott control room operator
Lee Hutson of Sandy, a Kennecott operator
Roxann Kristensen, South Jordan, an accounting manager
Charla Romrell, Kearns, an office administrator