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How This Veteran Drew On His Military Experience To Excel At Kroger

Ron Christner grew up in the Midwest, served his country, and for nearly four decades worked as a supply chain manager at Kroger. / Image courtesy of Kroger

Ron Christner lives on seven acres of land west of Cincinnati where deer and turkeys amble through his yard. Before that he worked for 38 years in supply chain and distribution for Kroger. Before that he served as a logistician in the United States Military.

Ron has a straightforward, easygoing demeanor and he's far from boastful. But there's something in his story that's quintessentially American: He grew up in the Midwest, served his country, and for nearly four decades ferried the food we all depend on from the farm to our shopping carts.

He is, in short, a highly dependable person. If something needs to get from A to B, you're going to call someone like Ron.

ACTIVE DUTY

Ron enlisted in the Marine Corps November 1969 after two years of college. He graduated first in his class of 240 men, aided by a childhood spent hunting with his father in Michigan.

"I was amazed how fast I was able to excel," Ron says. Over the next year, he was promoted three times to a rank of corporal E-4.

Five months after he enlisted, Ron reported for active duty at New River Air Station in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He was assigned to the HMM Marine Aircraft Group 26 for troop movement, supply support, and logistics for search and rescue.

He never went to Vietnam.

"When I reported on active duty, I was told I would be joining a squadron coming back from Vietnam," Ron says. "I was lucky because there were squads that had just departed before I arrived."

AFTER THE MILITARY

After two years of active duty, Ron was eager to get home and begin a career in trucking. He was discharged November 1971 and immediately plunged into his career.

"I started my own trucking business hauling milk for Kroger from Indianapolis to 36 Kroger stores in Northern Indiana," he says. "Then I officially came to work for Kroger in June 1978."

The lessons he learned in the military made the transition smooth.

"In the military, I was instrumental in coordinating the movement of supplies and food. That gave me better insight into what was coming in my logistics career," he says.

But Ron also learned the value of teamwork.

"I played lots of team sports growing up, but I didn't know what 'team' meant until bootcamp," he says. "Then in the workplace you have to get everyone on the same page, driving to the same goal. I always tried to be really clear with our team to make sure everyone all understood our goal, which was getting groceries to the stores."

Fast forward to 2016 and Ron Christner just had his retirement party. He finished his career at Kroger as a supply chain manager -- dependable beginning to end.

HONORING OUR HEROES

Since 2010, Kroger has raised more than $14 million for the USO to help support its mission of strengthening America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service. That $14 million is the largest amount ever donated to the USO.

Many of those donations occurred via Kroger's Honoring Our Heroes program, a multi-faceted campaign to raise funds for the USO and raise awareness for the military and veterans. The website provides an avenue for showcasing the stories of Kroger associates who are active duty, reservists, or veterans.

Customers can support the USO through a direct donation on the website or they can visit any Kroger store to donate.

Ron Christner is one of three associates Kroger is highlighting this month on Local12.com for their exemplary service and dedication to keeping this nation safe.

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For more information about Kroger's Honoring Our Heroes campaign, visit the Honoring Our Heroes website.

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