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Employee recognition day at Defense Distribution Center draws 1,500

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2003 10:00 pm

The hard work on the home front got a little recognition Tuesday as Defense Distribution Center San Joaquin gave a small party to honor its employees.

More than 1,500 employees and family members showed up Tuesday for the employee recognition day in Tracy.

Dubbed "We are Family," the event recognized the contributions the center's employees have made not only to the United States' war effort, but also during peacetime, said Doug Imberi, command affairs officer for the center.

"We're smaller in number, but our production is higher than ever," said David C. Ennis, deputy director of the DDJC. "We continue to have the highest performance standard in the (Defense Distribution Centers). The war fighter is getting excellent service."

In fact, the Tracy unit has shipped more than 100,000 meals in one day and a half-million lines to the Middle East, Ennis said.

A line is one order, Imberi said. And an order could be anything from one item to hundreds of ready-to-heat meals for troops.

"We're getting messages daily of how you folks have jumped through hoops," he said to the assembled employees.

The work doesn't stop there, Ennis said.

In fact, DDJC employees have given $92,000 to community charities, he said.

But the DDJC, which includes employees at the Tracy and Lathrop depots, wouldn't be successful without its veterans, and Tuesday, more than 800 veterans who work at the center were recognized not only for past service to their country, but also for their continued service through the DDJC.

"Some 800 veterans are heroes," said Mo Benson. "They're the people who work next to you every day."

Benson is a Vietnam War veteran and works at the DDJC.

"They don't tell you about it; they don't talk about that kind of stuff because it's kind of painful," he said. "They were just doing their duty."

He told the 800-plus vets that by working at the DDJC, they're still serving their country.

While it might seem like it's just another requisition being filled, on the other end someone really wants that stuff, he pointed out.

The center's contributions to the armed forces go on 365 days, 24 hours, seven days a week, Imberi said.

The only time the DDJC shuts down is on Sunday for a short period, he said.

Along with the tents of food and drinks, the event included music, activities for the kids, and firefighters and police displaying their equipment and abilities.

For one veteran, Tracy's Joe Perry, 53, the recognition day for employees does more than recognize the center's contributions.

"It brings diversity into play for everybody," he said. "People see a person has a family; they see we're all in the same boat."

Perry is a bulk division chief, who served in the U.S. Air Force for several years before coming to DDJC, which he's been with for more than 30 years.

"People have families outside work; they see people as people," said Julie Perry, 31, a bin division material handler.

Julie Perry is Joe Perry's oldest daughter and one of seven children.

Joe Perry said the recognition day was great for the depot.

"It brings unity to the organization," he said.

That organization, according to Imberi, stocks more the 765,000 items, from axles to Zantac.

The only thing the DDJC doesn't stock is weapons systems and ammunition, he said.

"We keep the war fighter supplied," Imberi said. "We stock everything they use."

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