March 4, 2015
AIKEN, S.C. -- A year before the Berlin Wall came down, Donletta Watts etched her name on the world's most infamous barrier to freedom.
Germany was just one of several tours for this United States War Veteran.
Donletta, a Savannah River Remediation (SRR) employee, currently serves as a Senior Procedure Writer in the Defense Waste Processing Facility. But it is the combination of worker, mother, soldier and veteran that makes her the person she is today.
SRR, the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS), recognizes that hiring U.S. veterans brings unique skills, talents and diversity to its workforce.
When Donletta returned home from Germany in 1988, she joined the Georgia Army National Guard. In 1990, she was hired at SRS.
Donletta has held many key jobs at SRS: Control Room Operator, Self-Assessment Coordinator, Job Hazard Analysis Coordinator, 2S Drill Coordinator and Behavior Based Safety Training Coordinator for FB-Line/235-F facilities. All of these jobs are about helping people stay safe and to be ready for anything. These jobs also share a common theme in what Donletta is all about.
In her military role, Donletta took a break from the National Guard from 1993-2001. She rejoined the Georgia Army National Guard and over the next decade she was deployed to Germany, Guyana, South America, Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.
For over 20 years Donletta has been in a Combat Engineer Battalion, where she has had the opportunity to work base camp improvements with coalition forces during her tours in Iraq. She said she's had many different military experiences.
"I have never been in an environment like Iraq, where the temperatures would range from 140 to 150 degrees. It was a challenge adapting to the heat and living conditions," Donletta said.
In Afghanistan, Donletta's section assisted with base closure. "It was a good feeling to be a part of what some would call history," Donletta said. There were a lot of military bases being shut down due to the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.
Donletta added that being a part of a humanitarian project in Guyana in 2009 was extremely rewarding. Her battalion erected a functional medical facility over the course of six months for the use of medical personnel to provide treatment to the local population.
During her deployments, Donletta would be away from home for up to one year at a time. She said being away for long periods of time from both her family and career was both difficult and easy.
"The distance that separated me from my family was difficult, but I had a strong support system in my husband and kids."
She said the transition from work to military and back to work has always been seamless. "The Human Resources team always made sure I was quickly taken care of as I integrated back into the workforce."
Today, Donletta is back at SRR in her Senior Procedure Writer position and is also First Sergeant in 877th Engineer Company in Augusta, Georgia. She is also a wife, mother of two and grandmother of one.
"I love the military. I always have. The rewards of the life-long friendships that I have formed hold a special place in my heart. The discipline and experience made me the wife, mother, co-worker and soldier I am today. God has blessed me with a great life!"
SRS is owned by DOE. SRR is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM Corporation with partners Bechtel National, CH2M HILL and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, EnergySolutions and URS Professional Solutions.
Point of Contact: Tina Melton firstname.lastname@example.org 803-208-1213