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July 4th is the quintessential American holiday complete with picnics, parades and fireworks. It’s a great time to kick back with family and enjoy a patriotic celebration. Of course, the holiday is about our nation’s independence, and we celebrate our founding fathers and their blueprint for the extravagant freedoms we enjoy today.
Have you read the Declaration of Independence lately? You can see the text and learn more about this living document by clicking here.
Protecting these freedoms has been an ongoing endeavor for our nation’s military. So as we sing about the “free,” we also think of our “brave.” We see them on the news all the time-—the touching homecoming videos of the soldiers who have served on the front lines of freedom. But after these stories run their courses, these same brave men and women transition back to civilian life. If your company is lucky, you might have a veteran or two working in your ranks.
We would like to thank all veterans for their service in protecting our citizens and our freedoms. In the RDS family, we have the good fortune to have 11 veterans working among our ranks and one highly decorated spouse. July 4th is a great time to be reminded of their service.
Santiago Arango, Installer – Southeast | Marine Corps
Anthony Basile, Service – Southeast | Marine Corps
Mike Belden, Warehouse – Southeast | Navy
Nathan Collins, Service- Southeast | Army and Air Force
Jewell Hannibal, RPOS Help Desk | Air Force
Eric Hanson, General Manager, Iowa | Army
Nathan Kerr, Sales – Southeast | Marine Corps
Daniel Lister, Army | Husband of Inside Sales Team Member Veronica Belden-Lister – Southeast
Jerry Pelzel, Service Technician, KS | US Navy
Alex Rodriguez, Staging – Southeast | Air Force
Derek Sutton, RPOS Help Desk – Southeast | Marine Corps
Matt Sutton, General Manager, Miami | Air Force
Harold Stout, Bench Technician, KS | US Navy
John Trimble, IT – Southeast | Marine Corps
A Glimpse at Service
Santiago Arango, Marine Sergeant, served 5 years attached to Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM -162 working on Osprey military aircraft providing assault support of combat troops, supplies, and equipment. He was deployed to Afghanistan earned him a Sea Service medal. Arango was also recognized for his performance with a number of awards including 3-time Expert Marksman, Marine of the Quarter, Good Conduct and a Meritorious Promotion. These days, he stays on the go as an installer working out of the Southeast Office.
Alex Rodriguez was attached to the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group at Warner-Robins Air Force Base. His unit was part of larger logistical team that executed aircraft maintenance, repair, overhauling and other support activities. As someone always interested in the mechanics of how things work, the opportunity to work on sophisticated systems of military planes was the ultimate experience. Awarded Marksman and Razor Sharp medals, Rodriguez focuses on keeping a razor sharp Staging Department at the Southeast office these days.
Eric Hanson graduated top of his class in the ROTC program at Iowa State University. He was a 2nd Lieutenant serving the US Army for 6 years. His military involvement and encouragement lead to an incredible 4 of his 6 children serving in different branches of the military.
Daniel Lister, Retired US Army Corps of Engineers, husband of Southeast’s Veronica Belden-Lister, began his military career in 2002. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom II, III, V and X. During his last deployment, he encountered an IED at close range. As a result, he spent 1-½ years in Walter Reed Army Hospital healing from an amputation and other life-threatening injuries. Lister was awarded the rare Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart Medal. He was also awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, NATO Medal, Army Commendation Medal 6x, Iraq Campaign Medal 4x, Army Achievement Medal 3x, Good Conduct Medal 3x, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and more. This true American hero and father of now 5 children married RDS Southeast’s Veronica Lister in 2014. Together they promote the importance of treating PTSD for returning veterans. As for July 4, 2015, the couple will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on that day.
How Will You Spend the Day?
We asked some of our veterans what the holiday means to them and how they’ll be spending the day.
Anthony Basile, Service Department Manager at RDS-Southeast and former Marine Corps Sergeant says the significance of the holiday has changed for him since his service. “You can’t have people you know and serve with come home in boxes without coming to terms with why we choose to serve. We were willing to lay our lives down for this country.” Worried that Americans have become complacent, he says, “we train hard and fight harder against those who search for ways to do us harm, and come home to a nation that is losing it’s will to survive. There will always be those people that will fight to enslave you for their own benefit. The 4th of July is when we honor the Americans that valued free lives for their families and communities more than they held to their own comfort or even survival. Whereas others in this world go to war for the right to rule over you, Americans got to war for your right to rule over yourself.” He plans to spend the day celebrating with his wife and four children.
Nathan Kerr, Account Manager for ALOHA/Counterpoint and former Marine Captain, shared his thoughts. “l was raised in a small town in Tennessee, and patriotism was not in short supply. The 2 holidays that changed for me after my service are Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. I always knew Memorial Day was a day to honor those that died for our freedom (NOT those who served, like me, but those who DIED). But it really hits home when you serve with those heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. Veteran’s Day is now a holiday for me. I haven’t worked on Veteran’s Day since I got out, and I never will again. That’s the day I remember friends I served with, living and dead, and the good times and bad I had during my tour.” His July 4th plans are usually low key, but as he says, “I do make sure Old Glory is flying that day. Semper Fi!!”
Matt Sutton, Miami GM and former Air Force Staff Sergeant, said his level of patriotism grew with his Air Force service. “I joined the military right after high school as I was still very upset about 9/11. I have always been very patriotic, but joining the military has increased my patriotism. 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day mean a lot to me and I am glad I had the opportunity to serve this great country. I met many friends I will have for a lifetime.” On how he will spend the day, the married father of a new baby girl said, “I usually spend the day with friends and family up in MN. I prefer to be on the lake, and of course around the BBQ. This 4th of July will be special as we will be with our friends in MN and our new addition.”
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