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U.S. Marine Daniels deployed on two tours to Iraq

HUNTSVILLE – Sergeant (E-5) Andrew ‘Drew’ Daniels learned the vital importance of teamwork as a U.S. Marine during two tours of duty in the Iraqi War. Today, he applies his skills by leading a 45-member crew as General Manager of Olive Garden in Huntsville.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001. In 2008, Daniels was honorably discharged as Sergeant (E-5).

Daniels completed Basic Training and was stationed for most of his career at Parris Island, S.C. at Marine Corps Recruit Depot. “In 2004, I deployed to Iraq and joined the Second Battle of Fallujah as part of Unit Mike Batter 414,” he said.

After his honorable discharge, Daniels returned to his hometown of Cookeville, Tenn. “At the time, Olive Garden was opening a new restaurant in Cookeville. I was hired to help open the restaurant as part of the bartending team,” he said. “Olive Garden helped me transition to civilian life, and I saw an opportunity to continue to grow within the company.”

By 2013, he was promoted to manager. “My family and I moved to Huntsville. Two years later, I was promoted, once again, to General Manger of Olive Garden in Huntsville,” Daniels said.

Daniels’ goal is to continue to rise through the ranks and become Director of Operations for Olive Garden.

Andrew and his wife Jill married in 2008. Their 10-year-old son Gunner is a fifth-grader. Jill works as a stay-at-home mom.

Drew Daniels participates with VFW in Huntsville. “I volunteer my time, when and where needed, in hopes of helping other military veterans to transition to civilian life,” he said.

He also volunteers at events for Marine Toys for Tots in Huntsville. “They collect new, unwrapped toys during the year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community,” Daniels said. “As a restaurant, we are in a unique position to help, so we donate food to all the volunteers who make these events possible.”

When he’s not working at Olive Garden, you can find Daniels on the golf course or enjoying time with Jill and Gunner.

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