Spotlight: Military Veterans of Rayonier | Rayonier Stories

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Thanking Our Veterans: Meet 5 Rayonier Employees Who Served

Rayonier is proud to be the employer of military veterans from both the U.S. and New Zealand. Today, we celebrate five veterans who are now a part of our team.

Our nations and, indeed, our world would not be what they are today without the selfless service and sacrifice of military men and women. We are delighted to introduce you to five veterans we are proud to call members of the Rayonier team:

Jonathan Boswell, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Jonathan Boswell U.S. Marine Corp
Jonathan Boswell, U.S. Marine Corps

Rayonier Title: Director, Treasury and Risk Management, based in Wildlight, Florida

Military Role: U.S. Marine Corps Fiscal Supply Clerk

Served in: Camp Devil Dog, N.C.; Camp Geiger, N.C.; Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

An experience he’ll never forget: “One of my favorite memories was a deployment to Australia in 1999.  We spent three months living in tents on the edge of an Australian Air Force airstrip, poised to fly to East Timor to assist the Australian Defense Force who were attempting to enforce peace in a country fighting for independence.  While we never got the chance to assist in East Timor, the opportunity to train alongside other Marine units, the Australian military and all the firepower we had at our disposal was an unforgettable experience.”

How the military impacts the way he works today: “The military does an excellent job of instilling the intangibles (e.g., discipline, leadership, and courage to name a few) to help make someone successful in life.

“I’m now the spouse of a Florida Air National Guard Lt. Col. and enjoy being supportive of her service to our country and maintaining a tie to military life. I have a great deal of respect for anyone that serves in the U.S. military and I wish all of my sisters and brothers a very happy Veteran’s Day.”

Rob Jones, U.S. Army Veteran

Rob Jones U.S. Army Veteran
Rob Jones, U.S. Army

Rayonier Title: Timber Marketing Manager, based in Lufkin, Texas

Military Role: U.S. Army Infantry Officer

Served In: Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Hood, TX; Iraq; and Afghanistan.

“I served in deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan totaling 35 months. I led an Infantry platoon of 20 soldiers in Iraq, and an Infantry company of 100 soldiers in Afghanistan, and also served as an advisor to the Iraqi Army.

“It was an honor to lead troops in combat.”

Experiences he’ll never forget:

“Living in foreign countries and interacting with the populace, which was a mix of positive and negative experiences.

“I had never had a pomegranate before going to Afghanistan, but had a lifetime’s worth in 9 months there. It was the local crop in our area of operations. The first time I was handed one, I did not even know how to eat it, and had to watch others.”

Barb Nichols, Royal New Zealand Air Force Veteran

Barb Nichols Veteran of Royal New Zealand Air Force
Barb Nichols, Royal New Zealand Air Force

Rayonier Title: Business Administrator, based in Auckland, New Zealand

Military Title: Royal New Zealand Air Force Typist

Served In: Woodbourne, Blenheim; Wigram, Christchurch; Ohakea, which is near Palmerston North; and Whenuapai, Auckland, where I remained until I “717’d” (left).

Experiences she’ll never forget:

“There were many favourite memories of my time in the Air Force, but can I tell you three that really stay with me?

  1. “In our Recruit Course, we all have to participate in an exercise to ‘defend’ our camp. One night towards the end of our exercise, all recruits had to pair up around the camp to defend against an unknown ‘enemy’ – it happened to be the New Zealand Army Special Air Service. We all had our rifles (with blanks in them). It was probably around 11 p.m. when we heard rifles being fired. It turned out that some of the recruits were shooting at anything that moved and anything that had red eyes. Most of us realised that there were sheep around us, as every so often you would hear them (note – no sheep were actually hurt ). My team actually managed to stop two SAS soldiers from getting past us, once you get over the feeling silly about yelling, “Halt! Who goes there?” Turned out to be a huge joke with the Army laughing at the Air Force for yelling out “Halt! Who goes there?” to sheep and, after three yellings, shooting towards them.
  2. “When you join, you come in as a ‘green’ civilian. What you do not expect is to come out with life-long friendships. One recall I have was having the opportunity of flying in a Strikemaster (as a passenger) when I was posted to No. 14 Squadron. This was such a buzz that I took every opportunity that was offered when asked if I wanted to go for a fly! I was even given my own flying overalls and flying jacket (which I still have!!). I was one of the very few ‘flying typists.’
  3. “In 1989, a couple of months before I got married, my husband & I applied to have our names put in the ‘hat’ to have a trip to England (we were engaged). This trip was to change out crews that were already in theatre in the Middle East. Our names came up and so decided to get married the day before we left and use this trip as our honeymoon.”

How the military impacts the way she works today: “Being in the military teaches you respect, discipline, teamwork, loyalty, friendship and how to work hard. This has been something that stays with you throughout your life and is ingrained in you. It balances you with the values that you take in with you that your parents teach you. All this gives you the patience and knowledge to allow you to be successful in whatever role you take on, should you want to.”

Ken Rester, U.S. Army Veteran

Ken Rester is a U.S. Army and Louisiana National Guard Veteran
Ken Rester, U.S. Army and Louisiana National Guard

Rayonier Title: Manager, Business Development, based in Wildlight, Florida

Military Role: Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army and Louisiana Army National Guard

Served In: Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Fort Polk, LA; Fort Hood, TX

An experience he’ll never forget: “We were conducting night operations in a training exercise, when someone stopped the exercise to make sure several hundred pounds of explosives were connected right. Generally at night we didn’t turn on any lights, but this time we did and discovered that the explosives would have ignited immediately instead of the planned delay. This would have killed us all! I will never forget that one moment of a very important safety check. It’s OK to double-check when your safety is involved.”

How the military impacts the way he works today: Leadership.

“I will also say, if you know someone in the military, don’t forget to write them or send a card. This means a lot sometimes when the rest of the world seems distant.”

Damon Riggins, U.S. Navy Veteran

Damon Riggins U.S. Navy Veteran
Damon Riggins, U.S. Navy

Rayonier Title: IT Support Specialist based in Wildlight, Florida

Military Role: U.S. Navy Information Technology Technician

Served In:  Mayport, FL; Kings Bay, GA; Washington DC; Maryland; and Everett, WA.

Experiences he’ll never forget: “A port call in Haifa, Israel. I did a tour of the Holy Land.”

How the military impacts the way he works today: “The training and experience has opened up doors. The military also paid for my Bachelor’s degree, which has been very beneficial.”

Thanking All Veterans

At Rayonier, we are grateful to all of our veterans in the U.S. and New Zealand for their service to these two great countries. The veterans on our own team bring an important perspective that inspires all of us to strive to be better and make the most of the opportunities made possible by those who have served.

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