SHELTER
Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

Volume 44,  Issue 5                                        June 2005

     Honor a Soldier
         Michael Ramsay

Part of the Team
Employee Sorely Missed by Co-Workers

by Samantha Carpenter

Black Millwork of Allendale, N.J., made due without one of its warehouse foremen for more than a year. 

Staff Sergeant Michael Ramsay was shipped out with his unit—the B Company of the 854th Engineer Battalion out of Orangeburg, N.Y.—in December 2003 and was stationed at Camp Doha, Kuwait, during that time.

Ramsay has been in the Army for 18 years—three of which were in the active Army and 15 of which have been in the reserves.

Ramsay says that when he initially joined it was “to serve his country and to travel.”

Ramsay, who is married and has two children, says that his family did not want him to be deployed and were sad, but that they understood why he had to go.

He was able to contact his family about once a week, and if the Internet was functioning then he and his family could leave messages for one another.

He says that it is hard to say how much changed in town while he was deployed.

“My family had to learn to get by on their own. It was hard on them to juggle work and school.”

He said that you realize who your true friends are when you are deployed.

“The ones that you think you wouldn’t hear from—those are the ones who come through for you. It is hard to be mad at the others because they have their own life and family to think and care for,” he explained.

Ramsay is especially thankful to his co-workers.

“My co-workers were wonderful. They kept me up with e-mails. Sometimes when the day was long and rough, it felt good to check [the e-mail] and find out that I had e-mail from a friend. It’s what got you through a day or two,” he said.

Bill Dunn, vice president of operations for Black Millwork, said that the company was in the process of restructuring certain departments as Ramsay was leaving, so someone else took over his responsibilities while he was gone.

“We still paid Mike most of his salary and did e-mail campaigns to keep up-to-date on the many changes at Black Millwork,” Dunn said. “He will not recognize the place when he does return, but we are very confident he will fit right back in. Mike is a very talented employee with many diverse talents.”

Ramsay says what he has missed most about work is the family atmosphere.

“From the bosses, office staff to warehouse personnel, they made me feel special, just like having a team in my corner. They were always asking what they could do to help.”
Ramsay’s unit was due to return at the end of February. 

Samantha Carpenter is editor of SHELTER magazine.


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