ESGR, Army Reserve honor supportive employer

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Story by SSG Shawn Morris on 11/01/2018
BORDENTOWN, N.J. Chris Natale, president of Ritchie & Page Distributing Company, received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve's Seven Seals Award Oct. 30 at the New Jersey National Guard armory here.

Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Readiness Division headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, presented the award in recognition of Ritchie & Page's half-century of military support.

"You and your company have provided support, not just with words but through actions," Kok said. "Without people like you, we (in the military) would not be as successful."

Besides making an ongoing effort to hire veterans, Natale and his company have raised nearly $30,000 over the past few years for the Folds of Honor college scholarship program for military spouses and children.

"We support the JBMDL command with scholarships for wounded veterans and their children nobody makes a greater sacrifice," said Natale, whose father Lou served in the Air Force in the 1950s. "It's important for the civilian population to support the military, and we've been consistently supporting the military for 55 years."

According to Natale, veterans make up approximately five percent of his company's workforce. Hiring veterans can often be a win-win for the employer and the employee; veterans bring specialized skills, real-world experience, leadership and discipline to the workplace, and in turn use the experience and skills gained on the job to enhance their military service.

"All of our veterans who work at our company are critical; I truly thank them for their service," Natale added.

ESGR's Seven Seals Award is presented in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative or support that supports the ESGR mission to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve-component service members and their civilian employers.

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