Nevada Sewer, Water Service Taps Troop Support Honor
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2006 A community sewer and water service provider near Reno, Nev., is tapped to receive a Defense Department-sponsored award for exceptional support of its employees in the Guard and Reserve.
The Sun Valley General Improvement District is among 15 U.S. businesses or public-sector agencies selected to receive the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for 2006.
The award recognizes U.S. employers that rise above the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a DoD agency, manages the award process.
ESGR assists Guard and Reserve members and their employers understand employee eligibility and job entitlements, employer obligations, benefits and remedies under the act.
Karen Burbidge, the district’s human resource manager, said her organization was nominated for the award because of its support for employee Mike Ariztia, a sergeant first class in the Nevada Army National Guard.
Ariztia, one of Sun Valley’s 15 employees, was called up for active duty in early 2005 and spent a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, Burbidge said.
“We were very, very happy to support Mike and his family in every way,” Burbidge said. The district provided Ariztia with differential pay and continued benefits for the duration of his deployment, she said.
And, “we sent him off with a new laptop so he could keep in communication with his family and fellow employees,” Burbidge added.
Local Board Supervisor Jim Ainsworth and Ariztia will accept the DoD award at a ceremony here tonight.