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Crotched Mountain honored for support of employee serving in National Guard

Union Leader Correspondent

June 13. 2014 12:13AM
NH National Guard Sgt. Chuck Eldridge, who is a Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center employee, stands with human resources benefit coordinator Deirdre Grimes after a ceremony Thursday at the center. Grimes and other employees were honored for their support of Eldridge while he was recently deployed to Afghanistan. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

GREENFIELD — Four Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center employees were honored by the Department of Defense Thursday for their support of a fellow employee who is also an active New Hampshire National Guard member.

Sgt. Chuck Eldridge, 41, of Nashua has been a Crotched Mountain employee for 13 years.

In 2011 he joined the New Hampshire National Guard. He was deployed to Afghanistan last year as a member of the 237th Military Police Company, NH National Guard.

After returning in January he nominated four of his colleagues for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for their support during his deployment.

Crotched Mountain president and CEO Don Shumway, residential supervisor Benjamin Drew, human resources benefit coordinator Deirdre Grimes and director of human resources Lorrie Rudis were honored in a ceremony Thursday at Crotched Mountain.

Crotched Mountain was also presented with a Statement of Support signed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

“I nominated Don Shumway and Lorrie Rudis because they were really good about reaching out while I was over there, especially when I got back. They welcomed me home and sat me down to see how they could help me,” Eldridge said Thursday.

And at Eldridge’s suggestion, Crotched Mountain has started advertising job postings at Heroes for Hire, a website for veterans searching for employment.

Drew, who is Eldridge’s direct supervisor, took every phone call Eldridge made to him, Eldridge said.

And when they had a pre-arranged phone call, Drew would place himself in different places around campus, so that Eldridge would be able to also talk to other employees.

Grimes kept in touch with Eldridge through letters and email. She also surprised him by writing about him in the company newsletter in which she included his email address.

“I was checking my email one day and my inbox was just flooded with all emails from people from Crotched Mountain. ’How are you doing? Hope you are safe? Hope to see you soon.’ Yeah it was really nice,” Eldridge said. “It reminds you that people still care about you.”

NH National Guard Capt. Sam Webber, who led Eldridge’s deployment company, told the employees, “When you know you have an employer that supports you at home … When you know that support is there, we call that a combat multiplier. A combat multiplier is basically anything that helps us do our job.”

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