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EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to Sonoco for earning Patriot Award

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Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 10:34 pm

Thumbs up to Sonoco for receiving the Patriot Award in recognition of its extraordinary support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Sonoco employee and Marine Corps Reservist Lt. Col. Curtis Lee of Hartsville presented his employer with the award Monday. Lee served in Iraq in 2007 and recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. At Sonoco, he works in the industrial products division. “They make sure my family’s whole, and we have benefits, which they’re not obligated to do. Sonoco is by far the best company I’ve worked for,” Lee said. His wife, Barbara, agreed. “It makes such a difference to know you have a job to come home to,” she said. Founded in 1899 and headquartered in Hartsville, Sonoco is a $3.6 billion global manufacturer of industrial and consumer products and provider of packaging services. “Sonoco’s culture is such that it makes the decision very easy because the sacrifice the employer makes is minor as compared to the sacrifice Curtis makes and his family makes,” said Marcy Thompson, division vice president/general manager of Sonoco Recycling. The Patriot Award is given by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. ESGR’s mission is to gain and maintain 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.

Thumbs up to those who participated in the Dan Coker Memorial Golf Tournament in March. The event raised $12,578.23 for the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter this year. Dan Coker, the tournament’s namesake, died seven years ago after living with Alzheimer’s for eight years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 57. Margaret Coker, his widow, and their son, David Coker, decided a golf tournament would be a fitting tribute. In its six years, the tournaments have collectively raised more than $83,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. The majority of the funds go toward research and some for education. The South Carolina chapter focuses on three areas: promoting early detection and emphasizing brain health, providing education to professionals and family members and providing services and outreach to address the needs of people with dementia. Top sponsors for the tournament this year were Carolina Bank and Mark Copeland, CareSouth Carolina, Morningside of Hartsville, Agape Hospice, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, Harmony Care Hospice and Wilson Senior Care. Margaret Coker also runs the two Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups in Darlington County that cover all dementias, not just those caused by Alzheimer’s. The Hartsville Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Support Group meets at 10 a.m. the first Tuesday of the month at St. Bartholomew’s Church. For more information, call Margaret Coker at (843) 332-7478, call the 24-7 Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at (800) 273-2555 or visit www.alz.org/sc online.

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