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story.lead_photo.caption Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman speaks to Eagle Distributing employees Saturday at Texarkana, Texas, Convention Center. The 35 employees celebrated recognition from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Co. as National Champions and Ambassadors of Excellence. Photo by Greg Bischof / Texarkana Gazette.

As some Navy pilots earn their wings upon finishing the Top Gun aviation school, 35 employees with Eagle Distributing of Texarkana earned their rings Saturday upon achieving their first national recognition.

For the first time in its 34-year history, the local distributing company received its first-ever national recognition for excellence from the Saint Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Brewery Co.

Each employee received a "National Champions" ring.
Photo by Greg Bischof/Texarkana Gazette.

Anheuser-Busch team members presented 2018 National Champions Ambassadors of Excellence Program rings to all 35 Eagle Distributing employees during a two-hour awards ceremony at the Texarkana, Texas, Convention Center.

Eagle Distributing Co. president Tim O'Neal said this awards program,which Anheuser-Busch started in 2008, recognizes the highest performing wholesaling distributorships in the United States—of which Eagle Distributing is now one.

Some areas a wholesaling distributing company are measured for regarding excellence include sales, operations efficiency, customer relations and employee professionalism.

"This kind of recognition is pretty remarkable when you consider the fact that there are well more than 500 distribution companies across the whole country," O'Neal said.

Byron Williams, a Liberty-Eylau High School graduate and former National Football League player for the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants, paid tribute to the Eagle Distributing employees for their milestone achievement.

"I learned early on in life that you never get anywhere by yourself unless you have someone to look up to so I made sure that I surrounded myself with people like you," Williams said. "Celebrating victories like this is always exciting to be a part of. Congratulations to you who work for Eagle Distributing, as well as to all your family members who came out with you to be a part of this."

O'Neal agreed.

"It is each and everyone of you, who work for this company, that have made this award possible," O'Neal said to the gathered employees and their family members. "You all are the players that are out on the field everything day and you make it all work."

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