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News | Sept. 23, 2019

Director of DLA Distribution Albany, Georgia, retires

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

With 33 years of service to the federal government, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Albany, Georgia, Director Rita W. Varner is retiring.

“Twenty-seven of my 33 years of service have been with DLA,” said Varner. “I have always said that this job has given me far more than I could have ever imagined.”

Varner said she started her career in 1986 as a supply clerk. Her career would progress through supervisory positions to distribution facilities manager. Eventually it would lead to deputy director and director.

Varner credits her success to her willingness to serve the customers and a strong sense of right and wrong.

“When it comes to the best advice for those that I have mentored I always say it’s important to set small goals, attain them and move on to the next one. It’s important to progress,” said Varner.

Varner also highlighted the importance of the mission.

“Even though I never served in the military, I am a proud patriot and this experience has allowed me to serve the men and women that I admire the most, the warfighter,” said Varner.

Varner said there were actually two highpoints during her career as she looks back on her years in service.

“I was a GS-07 supervisor in the aftermath of Desert Shield/Desert Storm responsible for all the assets coming back into Albany,” said Varner. “I was assisting in cleaning out the vehicles as they were loaded to the brim with junk and found a note from Marine Lance Cpl. Elshere in a Humvee. The note explained that the vehicle had been in the four-day battle for Kuwait. He went on to say that he had hauled mail, the wounded and the dead. It had been his home for four months and she had become a part of him and asked that someone take good care of her. I still have this handwritten note and when I wonder why I do what I do, I take it out and read it.”  

Varner said the second highlight was being part of the operation to support our military during Hurricane Katrina with meals ready to eat. 

“DLA Distribution Albany, Georgia, provided over 1 million MREs to our troops supporting the recovery/relief efforts in about a three week period,” said Varner. “I have never been more tired or more proud of our mission and the individuals that I work with.”

Varner said that, as she departs, there are only a few things she wants people to know.

“Most of us have a passion and desire to support our customers and when the rubber meets the road, we will do whatever it takes to ensure they have what they need when they need it,” said Varner.