THE VIEW FROM ABOVE: QIR Customer Experience Highlights

To maintain their certification, QIR companies are held accountable for the impact they have on the security of the cardholder data environment as they work to uphold the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (“PCI SSC”) Code of Professional Responsibility. Over the course of the last year, RDS has made major investments related to meeting the new QIR qualification and implementation requirements. Trained by the PCI SSC, RDS employees perform Qualified Installations every day in accordance with the QIR Program.

The diagram above shows the Qualified Installation process and parties involved. (diagram credit PCI-SSC)

The PA-DSS Implementation Guide is prepared by the software application vendor, such as NCR, and passed to the QIR Company (RDS). The QIR qualified employee uses this vendor-provided PA-DSS Implementation Guide, QIR Implementation Statement Instructions, and their knowledge of the PCI DSS, when implementing the payment application software into the merchant’s environment.

Throughout each stage of the implementation, the QIR employee documents details related to the install and PCI DSS on an Implementation Statement. This document provides a record of their work with a checklist of implementation/functionality items for the QIR employee to test and sign off. Within 10 business days of the installation, the QIR installer reviews the completed Implementation Statement for Quality Assurance. Once the document is signed off, the customer receives a copy for their records. To ensure continuing process improvements, the customer is invited to share their experience through a survey located on the PCI SSC website. The QIR Feedback Form serves as a tool for the PCI SSC to validate the performance of the QIR Company, in accordance with the QIR Program Requirements, through the customer’s experience.

RDS appreciates our customers’ feedback and can help guide and assist you as needed on your PCI Compliance journey. If you have any questions about our QIR Program, please email:

QIR and The Small Merchant

Did you know that 60% of small businesses go under within 6 months of a cyber attack*? According to industry research**, restaurants and retail small business merchants make up the biggest portion of total known breaches, and only about 20% are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

In credit card processor speak, small business merchants fall into the Level 4 merchant category. As such, they are required to adhere to the PCI DSS and to demonstrate Payment Card Brand specific compliance annually. Failure to do so results in penalties by the processor. Merchants have seen many changes to their credit processor validation requirements over the last several years between updates to the PCI DSS, hardware, and the recent VISA Qualified Integrator and Reseller (QIR) mandate.

Last year VISA issued a QIR mandate to Level 4 merchants and were given a deadline of February 2017 to begin utilizing only PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) qualified QIR Companies for Point of Sale activities, or pay a fine. This is the first mandate of it’s kind, and other payment card brands are anticipated to follow suit in the near future. The mandate is meant to alleviate compliance risk during implementation and ongoing maintenance support of point of sale systems. By using organizations that have completed the PCI SSC QIR qualification, merchants improve security by ensuring that point of sale systems are installed and integrated in a manner that facilitates the merchant’s PCI DSS compliance and ultimately reduces risk.

RDS has over 130 QIR qualified technicians and is dedicated to cultivating internal PCI DSS awareness and serving as a resource to guide our customers throughout their PCI Compliance journey. As a QIR Company, RDS only installs and maintains PA-DSS validated payment applications and implements data security into every facet of business operations, from the implementation of point-of-sale systems, to keeping our employees trained and up-to-date with the latest security standards.

In the POS industry since 1950, RDS has continuously adapted and grown through many changes providing smarter products and support to our clients year after year. This includes cultivating PCI DSS compliant processes and environments to serve as an advisor to our clients. RDS is proud to have over 130 employees QIR qualified to conduct Qualified Installations and assure compliance with the PCI DSS.

*Cyber Security Statistics – Numbers Small Businesses Need to Know, Jan 3, 2017, Small Business Trends (

**Verizon 2015 PCI Compliance Report
Visa graphic borrowed from PCI SSC (credit

Crazy Bowls & Wraps Selects PAR’s Cloud-Based Brink POS® Software

Solution also includes Brink Online/Mobile Ordering and PAR EverServ® Terminals

New Hartford, NY- July 27, 2017 – ParTech, Inc. (PAR), a leading global provider of point of sale (POS) and workforce efficiency solutions to the restaurant and retail industries, announced Crazy Bowls & Wraps has selected PAR’s Cloud-Based Brink POS® Software and EverServ® 500 and 550 terminals for all 16 locations, with plans to expand with additional new store openings this year. Crazy Bowls & Wraps serves fresh, real food that is made from scratch daily.

ParTech, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE: PAR).

Crazy Bowls & Wraps was using a legacy point of sale solution, which made it difficult to implement back of house applications that integrated with above-store accounting, operational, and human capital systems. It was also extremely labor intensive to perform menu and price changes, as each location required individual updates performed by management. Efficiently analyzing customer and transactional information was a challenge, as well.

“With the capability of cloud technology today, we started searching for a solution that gave us remote management from anywhere, with a partner that could be there for us locally as we continue to expand our brand,” said Keith Kitsis, Founder, Crazy Bowls & Wraps.

RDS St. Louis, a value-added reseller, facilitated the process to identify the best solution for their needs.

The Brink solution, a cloud-based enterprise management system, will enable Crazy Bowls & Wraps to centrally control and deploy updates to all 16 locations, integrate with the current and future above-store systems, and position Crazy Bowls & Wraps for growth.

RDS and PAR have provided great insights and support in the seamless transition of the new system and the growth of our omni-channel presence, providing our customers more ways to “go for the good.” From the store to the office, we have been pleased in the ease of use and expandability the product offers,” added Kitsis.

Crazy Bowls & Wraps is seeing improved customer engagement by offering them a best in class omni-channel experience from Brink’s online and mobile ordering platforms, and investigating the comprehensive loyalty solution. Although they are early in the process of implementing this, they are seeing great potential in both incremental revenue and speed of service improvements.

“We are excited to have Crazy Bowls & Wraps select Brink for all locations. Brink was designed to be  forward thinking and with the end user in mind, resulting in an easy to use and quickly adoptable solution,” said Paul Rubin, Chief Strategy Officer, ParTech, Inc. “With Brink online ordering and loyalty in place, guests will have a more engaging experience, and a more convenient and accessible way to order their favorite CBW dishes.”

“RDS is proud to have the opportunity to partner with Crazy Bowls & Wraps in providing PAR’s cloud-based Brink POS Software,” said Chris Cutting, General Manager, Retail Data Systems of St. Louis (RDS). “With the solution’s robust reporting and remote management capabilities, it addressed the issues that were once faced with their traditional, legacy systems. It is exciting to see CBW grow and offer the best possible experience for customers with online ordering and loyalty options. “


Crazy Bowls & Wraps opened its first store in St. Louis, MO in 1994. While CBW has continually evolved and expanded over the years, they continue to serve fresh, real food that is made from scratch daily. By making it easier to enjoy delicious, fresh ingredients, CBW helps people feel good about themselves and the world we share. For more information and a list of locations, visit


Retail Data Systems is the largest provider of Point of Sale Hardware and Software in North America. Founded in 1950, RDS now operates over 25 offices serving customers across the nation providing complete Point of Sale technology. Their team of over 400 professionals assure customers of the best 24/7/365 service available. Their list of industry leading POS hardware and software products provide a variety of solutions for companies large and small. For more information, visit


PAR Technology Corporation’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PAR. PAR’s Restaurant/Retail segment has been a leading provider of restaurant and retail technology for more than 30 years. PAR offers technology solutions for the full spectrum of restaurant operations, from large chain and independent table service restaurants to international quick service chains. Products from PAR also can be found in retailers, cinemas, cruise lines, stadiums and food service companies. PAR’s Government segment is a leader in providing computer-based system design, engineering and technical services to the Department of Defense and various federal agencies. For more information, visit or connect with PAR on Facebook and Twitter.

Software 4 Retail Solutions Releases S4Vision For Unified Customers

Software 4 Retail Solutions has released S4Vision for Unified Grocers customers participating in Unified’s “Scan Advantage” store data and analytics program. S4Vision is a self-service business intelligence platform that accumulates and analyzes real-time point-of-sale (POS) transaction data, giving store owners and managers actionable reporting and analytics on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.

S4Vision connects store managers directly to high-level summaries of trends and performance, with detailed drill-down whenever and wherever they need it, Software 4 Retail says. Managers can see chain and store real-time sales, with period-over-period trends including metrics such as customer count, basket size, average retail and items per basket. They also can dive deeper into department sales and metrics to examine strong or under-performing areas of the business. The platform provides daily projections to help managers anticipate product demand and customer visits.

S4Vision’s capabilities include measuring key performance indicators such as open department sales, no sales, refunds and voids so managers can track store labor and prevent loss. Real-time alerts are issued for abnormal activity and performance. Additionally, customer traffic can be measured against cashier labor to validate labor schedules.

“We are very pleased to be a preferred technology partner with Unified Grocers,” said Rick Goertzen, GM of Software 4 Retail Solutions. We’re confident that Unified’s retailers will enjoy the convenience and control of having S4Vision’s real-time data and analytics in the palm of their hands, and quickly see increased performance and sales growth storewide.”

Brian Legate, manager of retail analytics at Unified Grocers, said, “We’re delighted to add S4Vision to our suite of mobile offerings to help our independent retailer customers better compete and grow in their marketplaces. S4Vision is well-suited for helping our retailers take full advantage of Unified’s Scan Advantage program and all that it offers.”

PAR Technology and RDS Press Release

PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE:PAR)

FOR RELEASE:  March 9, 2016

Giardino Gourmet Salads Selects Cloud-Based PAR Brink POS® Software to Help Maximize Profits, Loyalty and Operational Efficiency

New Hartford, NY – March 9, 2016 — ParTech Inc. (PAR), a leading global provider of point-of-sale (POS) and food safety solutions to the restaurant industry and subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE: PAR), announced today that Giardino Gourmet Salads, has selected PAR Brink POS software for its corporate and franchised stores. Giardino’s is a premier fast casual salad chain with 12 locations, based in southern Florida. Retail Data Systems (RDS), a reseller of PAR hardware and software and a long-time partner of Giardino’s facilitated the process to find a POS solution that would best serve the needs of their growing brand. The goal was to implement a technology solution that would enable loyalty and online ordering while providing enterprise level management to efficiently and proactively support their franchisees.

The cloud-based architecture of PAR Brink POS optimizes enterprise operation management across the brand, without the need for a back office computer. The implementation of Brink POS has eliminated the need to manage menu changes from each store location, saving valuable time and resources. As a franchisor, Giardino Gourmet Salads will have access to reports and real-time data including labor and sales on individual locations chain-wide to help franchisees make informed, proactive decisions to drive revenue.

Giardino Gourmet Salads is one of the first restaurants to deploy the Punchh mobile loyalty platform that was recently integrated into Brink with the latest software release. The Punchh-powered apps will help the brand drive loyalty and guest engagement and provide powerful analytical tools to grow the business and better understand the full network of its customers.

“We were planning to franchise from the start and never wanted Giardino Gourmet Salads to be a mom-and-pop restaurant, so implementing a scalable technology platform was a priority,” said Kenny Lugo, founder of Giardino Gourmet Salads. “At an industry event, we spoke with loyalty and mobile ordering providers who both highly recommended Brink for our business model. From these interactions and our relationship with RDS, we knew PAR was the right partner for us and that using Brink POS to its fullest potential would give us a pulse on our business from anywhere, supporting our aggressive growth plans.”

“Cutting-edge, cloud-based technology, like Brink POS, offers optimal scalability through its simple deployment and enterprise management capabilities, making it an ideal solution for growing fast casual and quick service chains like Giardino Gourmet Salads,” said Matt Sutton, general manager at RDS Miami. “We believe a partnership, like the one we have with PAR, allows us to provide not only the best solutions, but also smoother installation, more in-depth training and more efficient help desk services for our customers.”

“It is a true example of partnership between PAR, RDS, and our integration partners to provide Giardino Gourmet Salads with a POS solution that will support their business and drive their brand growth,” said Karen Sammon, President and CEO of PAR Technology Corporation. “The selection of PAR Brink POS by Giardino Gourmet Salads, a company that has been included on’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers list for the past three years, further strengthens our position in the market as the POS solution for the growing fast casual operator. We are honored to add them to the PAR family and grateful to RDS for the continued support and expertise they provide to our collective customers.”

Giardino Gourmet Salads expects to have 14 stores open by the spring of 2016 and franchise commitments to open an additional seven additional locations in South Florida, Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC.

About Giardino Gourmet Salads

Giardino Gourmet Salads is the premier fast casual salad concept in South Florida. Founded in 2004, the gardener chefs at Giardino serve the widest variety of individually hand-crafted, great-tasting salads and menu offerings using premium ingredients like freshly baked croutons and homemade deli salads. Currently with 11 South Florida locations and one in Nashville, TN, please visit for more information.

About PAR Technology Corporation

PAR Technology Corporation’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PAR.  PAR’s Hospitality segment has been a leading provider of restaurant and retail technology for more than 30 years.  PAR offers technology solutions for the full spectrum of restaurant operations, from large chain and independent table service restaurants to international quick service chains. Products from PAR also can be found in retailers, cinemas, cruise lines, stadiums and food service companies. PAR’s Government Business is a leader in providing computer-based system design, engineering and technical services to the Department of Defense and various federal agencies.  Visit for more information.

About Retail Data Systems

Retail Data Systems is the largest provider of point-of-sale hardware and software in North America. Founded in 1950, RDS now operates over 25 offices serving customers across the nation providing complete point of sale technology.

Our list of industry leading POS hardware and software products provide a variety of solutions for companies large and small. For more information, visit


Microsoft Windows Operating System XP Embedded Approaching End of Life

An Issue You Will Need to Deal With Sooner Than Later – Microsoft Windows XP Embedded‘s End of Life is in January.

XP Embedded, the workhorse of the modern Point of Sale age is going away.  After a more than 14 year run, extended support for the product is ending.  The reason?  Vulnerabilities in older encryption protocols such as TLS 1 will no longer be supported by Microsoft as they cannot get them to new standards on Windows XP based operating systems.  This will essentially render all systems with the XP operating system to be non-PCI compliant effective January 13, 2016.EndofLife

Included in this group are:

  • Microsoft Windows Embedded XP

Not updating your POS system to a compliant operating system will put your POS environment in violation of PCI compliance in at least 3 areas (quoted from PCI DSS v3:

  • “6.2 Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches.”
  • “11.2.1 Perform quarterly internal vulnerability scans and rescans as needed, until all “high-risk” vulnerabilities (as identified in Requirement 6.1) are resolved.”
  • “11.3.3 Exploitable vulnerabilities found during penetration testing are corrected and testing is repeated to verify the corrections

This means if you are running a POS system with Windows XP, you have to do something now.   Please contact us ( for an assessment on if your environment is at risk.

By Patrick Solum

The Busiest Airport in the World – Catches Restaurant Thieves with Our Help!

RDS Southeast has about 20 restaurant customers in the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Recently, we invited one of our restaurant group customers to install Restaurant Guard by NCR Hosted Solutions. With Restaurant Guard installed for only two weeks, yesterday we were told that our customer had caught three employees stealing red-handed and fired them!

Two employees immediately confessed and the third denied the charges but RG reports and video surveillance confirmed all three were thieves.  Police escorted the three out of the airport and charges are pending.

The scam the thieves were using was the “Reprint” scam. When a guest would order a common menu item like “Combo Number Two” and pay cash, the employees would reprint several copies of the receipt. Then, whenever another guest would come along later and order the same menu item the cashier would ring in the sale and hand the guest the pre-printed receipt. After the guest paid and walked away with their food, the cashier would simply clear/delete the items on the ticket without ever completing the sale. The $8.00 cash would go right in the cashier’s pocket!

Here’s the Astronomical effect of this “petty” theft:

Combo meal price:          $8.00

Reprint Scam if used only 5 times a day = ($8 x 5 times a day) = $40 a day

20 restaurants in the airport. Be conservative and say it only happens in half of them…

10 restaurants = ($40 a day x 10 restaurants) = $400 a day

7 days a week= (7 days x $400) = $2,800 a week

50 weeks a year = (50 weeks x $2,800) = $140,000 a year!!!!!    This restaurant group was losing over $140,000 in revenue a year to theft!
Restaurant Guard Price: $125 a month per location x 10 stores = $1,250 a month

$1,250 a month (10 stores) x 12 months = $15,000 a year.

Pay $15,000 a year to get $140,000 increase in sales? Not a bad investment! Remember also, this was just one scam caught. It may be just “the-tip-of-the-iceberg”.

The other employees saw the police lead the thieves away in handcuffs. What effect will that have to stopping other theft?

The moral of this real-life experience is that RDS is our customer’s friend and consultant. Don’t be shy about asking about and listening to what worries our customers the most. It’s often not about being high-tech, email marketing, tablets or new social media apps. It’s about cutting their costs, improving their profits and making their quality of life better!

We have some of the best people in the industry around us. Bring them with you when you visit your friends (customers) and you will be successful! Good Selling!

E-M-V: What does it mean to me?

By October 2015, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) has a deadline that all merchants should be able to accept EMV payment cards or face charge backs and bad transaction fees.  So what is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, a global standard utilizing an integrated circuit embedded within a plastic payment card (Chip). EMV has been the payment standard in Europe since 2002.  The combination of the card (Chip) with a PIN number provides a strong level of protection for the consumer against identity theft.

So how will this technology effect your business or your pocket book. Let’s exam a few Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. If I don’t make the October 15th date will I go to prison or face fines? No, EMV is not a law, requirement, or a mandate. The only penalty imposed will be a charge back if you the merchant accept a fraudulent EMV capable credit card without using the EMV reader.  So if you accept an EMV capable card for $25.00 and the EMV card is found to be fraudulent days later, you will lose that money plus pay a $20.00 bad card fee total loss would be $45.00. This is the shifting of liability the payment card industry is talking about.
  1. Don’t I have to do EMV to be PCI compliant? EMV is only one component of PCI protection but it is not mandated because it does not stop Cybercriminals from hacking your system and stealing your customer’s sensitive data. It merely reduces the threat of someone recreating a fraudulent credit card. EMV will not reduce your cost of PCI compliance.
  1. If I don’t have an EMV reader, I won’t be able to accept Chip embedded cards? Not true. Only 20-30% of card holders in the US will even possess a chip card by October 15th and if they do all of them still have the magnetic stripe to be used in the event the merchant cannot read the card. Most industry experts anticipate a 3-5 year adoption rate to move completely away from the traditional Magnetic stripe card.
  1. So, all I have to do is purchase a device to read the EMV card and my restaurant is ready to go? Not True. Not all EMV devices may be compatible with your POS system. So, your first step should be to contact your POS provider. They will be able to tell you the devices and processor’s they are compatible too.   If you do not know your POS provider then contact your credit card processor they will be able to recommend a solution for your business.
  1. How great is my risk if I don’t make the deadline? The risk you face is an individual decision. The main basis is you will be responsible for the amount charged in your restaurant on the fraudulent card plus you will pay a bad card fee.  If your average check is $100.00 you are at greater risk than restaurants with a $15.00 Average check.  You have to decide on your own.

Currently there is a lot of confusion surrounding EMV. If you would like to speak with an RDS representative about EMV, please fill out the form on this page.

A Day in the Life of an RDS Hospitality Help Desk Support Technician

View the PDF.

“I Feel Like My Job Matters”

A Day in the Life of an RDS Hospitality Help Desk Support Technician

One of the most highly valued services we offer is our Skilled Help Desk Support. Manned around the clock by over 30 trained technicians, the help desk is here to provide troubleshooting and support for your Point of Sale system. As much as we would prefer them to be completely infallible, software and hardware do sometimes encounter problems. If you have a maintenance contract with RDS, you can pick up the phone and speak with one of our skilled technicians like Chris (pictured here).






Trouble Tickets

When our clients call with a question, our phone technicians open a file in our system called a “trouble ticket.” We use this tool to document our interactions with customers to track the details of all calls and to keep customers informed of the status. To be sure each problem is handled efficiently, we evaluate and handle the calls based upon levels of severity. A site being unable to accept payment, or 50% of terminals on site being down would be examples of the highest severity level warranting the most immediate response. After opening a trouble ticket with detailed notes, the technician would end the phone call and would begin a series of problem-­‐solving exercises. Calls that have the lowest level of critical need such as custom reports or changes in contact information for the files would still be resolved from 4 hours to the next business day.

Once an issue is resolved, we “close” the trouble ticket. There are many advantages to using this system. When the support desk receives multiple calls from a client, technicians are able to address any patterns that may need to be addressed through extra training, or that point to deeper investigation into system issues.

Typical Day for a Hospitality Support Desk Technician

Chris comes in at 9am. Light call traffic before 9:30 allows him to handle any non-­‐emergency calls from the overnight shift. Call volume picks up and is at its heaviest between 9:30-­‐1:30pm. He grabs a late lunch around 2pm at his desk during this slower pace. During the lighter afternoon call traffic, he moves on to address any open cases from the prior business day. Additionally, he helps other technicians requiring assistance on more difficult calls. He leaves the office at 6pm when the next shift takes over.

“I take pride in helping my customers by working to exceed the standards for call-­‐back times.” He can relate to issues at restaurants since he worked in that industry for 10 years. “I know what it’s like,” he says. “This is their livelihood. Their businesses cannot function without their equipment. We need to quickly help them get their problems resolved. I feel like my job matters.”

csrep 2





Most Common Calls

The top three most frequently received calls in the hospitality call center are concerning forgotten passwords, Internet connectivity-­‐related credit card processing problems and reporting issues. Roughly 85% of all calls are resolved within 30 minutes without being escalated to a higher priority. That’s good news for our clients.

RDS conducts regular training activities to keep our Help Support Desk technicians up to speed on all equipment, and the best ways to communicate solutions with our clients in locations all across the country.

RDS Veterans and July 4th

View the PDF.

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. RDS Veterans 2

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. RDS Veterans 1

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.”

Want to show support for our troops overseas? Click here to learn more.