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Sonoco Presented Patriot Award for Support of Employees in National Guard and Reserve

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Marine Corps Reservist Lt. Col. Curtis Lee recently presented his employer, Sonoco of Hartsville, S.C., USA, with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The ESGR agency was established by the DoD in 1972, with the mission of gaining and maintaining employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through informal mediation. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation, and, if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.

"They make sure my family's whole, and we have benefits, which they're not obligated to do," Lt. Col. Lee said. "Sonoco is by far the best company I've worked for." Lt. Col. Lee served in Iraq in 2007 and recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, two deployments in a four-year period. At Sonoco, he works in the industrial products division. Across the state, hundreds of companies with similar support systems for their workers have been awarded this honor by service members.

"It makes such a difference to know you have a job to come home to," Lt. Col. Lee's spouse, Barbara Lee, said.

In the photo below, (l-r) are: Marcy Thompson, division VP/GM, Sonoco Recycling; Lt. Col. Curtis Lee; Jerry Cheatham, director, financial analysis, Industrial Converted Products; and Joe Smoak, executive director for S.C. Commission for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. In receiving the award, Thompson noted that "Sonoco's culture is such that it makes the decision very easy because the sacrifice the employer makes is minor compared with the sacrifice Curtis makes and his family makes."



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