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News | May 30, 2020

San Joaquin’s Reed retires after 37 years of federal service

By Annette Silva, DLA Distribution San Joaquin Public Affairs

Distribution process worker Donald L. Reed of the Hazardous Branch at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Joaquin, California, is retiring after 37 years of dedicated federal service in support of America’s warfighters.

Reed takes pride in working for DLA and understands the importance of his efforts to serve his country. “The DLA organization has given me the opportunity to learn and grow my skillset,” he commented. “Most importantly I have learned the importance of working cooperatively as a team to support and accomplish the mission. It gives me pride to know that my work is purposeful and serves communities across the world.”

A highlight of his career was receiving an award during the distribution center’s first National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebration. The award not only recognized Reed’s achievement as a hearing impaired employee, but also the potential for employees with other disabilities to succeed as well.

“This award meant that our [deaf employees] skills and abilities are an integral part of the work that we do at DLA.”

Over the span of his career at DLA, Reed has noticed many changes for the hearing impaired employees which led to his success in the workplace. He is grateful for the added platforms that helped to improve communication to include video iPhones, tablets, video interpreting services and human interpreters for meetings at the installation.

In 1983, he started his career as a material expediter, at the Sacramento Army Depot. He was then transferred to the Sheet Metal department as a mechanic helper. He was then promoted to a sheet metal worker. After the Sacramento Army Depot closed in 1993, Reed was then transferred to Tracy, California, starting as a laborer in the Bulk Division.

In 1999, he was promoted to a packer in Bin Packing. In 2006, he was transferred to the Consolidation Containerization Point as a distribution process worker. From 2007 to 2008, he worked as a temporary wood worker for one year and returned to the CCP. While at the CCP, he served as an acting distribution process worker lead from October 2008 to January 2009. In April 2009, Reed was promoted to a distribution process worker, in the vault at warehouse 19 where he currently works.

Reed is active in volunteering at the installation. He is currently in the Voluntary Protection Program’s Hazard Prevention and Control subcommittee. Previously, he served on the Safety and Health Training subcommittee and the Motor Operations Vehicle and Equipment Safety.

A highlight for Reed was the ability to teach American Sign Language to employees and supervisors at DLA Distribution San Joaquin in addition to employees of the Sacramento Army Depot.

Reed is grateful for the mentors throughout his career. He gives thanks to Tom Bledsoe, his former hearing-impaired co-worker at the Sacramento Army Depot who gave him guidance for his federal career.

“Tom had more years of work experience that I had. He took the time to show me how I could be successful as a deaf person in an all hearing environment,” commented Reed. “He showed me how to serve professionally and with high integrity. He was a great teacher and friend.”

Reed wants people to understand that DLA is a great organization that supports people with disabilities.

“I would like people to know there are deaf employees within DLA, and the we are like any other employee. When given the opportunity, we want to show that we are proud, eager and willing to support our country’s missions.”

Reed enjoys traveling, camping, fishing, hiking and watching movies. He is also an avid sports fan of football and baseball. His favorite teams are the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Giants. He also enjoys working on his house and doing little home improvements.