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DS director presented with the Patriot Award

The Patriot Award was given to Deb Lee, Concordia’s director of Dining Services, on Sept., 22, to recognize the extra responsibilities she took on when a co-worker was on leave for National Guard training.

According to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Web site, the ESGR rewards employers with the Patriot Award for supporting guardsmen on leave from work. Guardsmen who think their employer deserves the award are encouraged to nominate employers for recognition through the ESGR.

Paul Dosch, assistant director of Dining Services, nominated Lee for the award. From the end of January to the middle of April 2009, Dosch was at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., training to become a National Guard force support officer.

He nominated Lee for the recognition because of the extra work she and her team put into planning a conference for the National Association of College and University Food Services. DS is a member of NACUFS, and its conference changes location each year. The bulk of the planning and the conference itself were held while Dosch was away.

In addition to the conference planning, Lee and the DS managers were responsible for performing Dosch’s regular duties, which include hiring and training full- and part-time staff and running the student manager program.

Lee was presented with the award during a meeting with DS managers on Sept. 22. In the middle of the meeting, there was a knock on the door and Dosch entered the room, accompanied by two men in uniform and equipped with the Patriot Award.

“At first, I almost panicked,” Lee said. “It was a complete surprise.”

Lee said the hard work the other managers put in while Dosch was away was essential to making sure DS was functional and the managers would put in the same effort for anyone who needed time away.

“That’s the way it always is for our team,” Lee said.

Katelyn Rimmereid, a student worker in DS, has seen the helpfulness of her managers work to her advantage. Rimmereid said she felt secure knowing if a problem arose and her manager could not be contacted, another manager would be available to help solve the problem. Rimmereid said working with managers who could not communicate would have often made her job hectic.

“No one would have known what was going on,” she said.

Lee has been the director of DS since 1998. With a degree in dietetics from NDSU, she began working at DS 20 years ago. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in management before becoming the director.

Lee said the award represents the hard work of the entire managerial staff in DS who stepped up while Dosch was gone, and jokes about the reason why she was chosen as the award recipient.

“There’s only room for one name on the award,” Lee said. “And mine is short.”

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