Support Committee Links Reserves, Employers
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2000 When Uncle Sam calls up the reserve components, employers too are required to support the nation.
President Richard Nixon established the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve component members and their civilian employers.
"We assist in the resolution of the many concerns that arise from an employee's military commitments," said Bryan E. Sharratt, the committee's executive director. "Today, ESGR operates through a network of more than 4,500 volunteers, staffing 54 committees located in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands."
Much has changed since Nixon established the committee 28 years ago," Sharratt noted. "Today our reserve component members comprise nearly half of our total force, and we are asking more and more of our reserve component members -- a 13-fold increase in manpower contributions, in addition to their training requirements over the last decade."
Reserve component members have stepped up to the challenge, as have their families and employers, he said. Their support helps keep the nation strong and secure.
Military members recognize employers for supportive employment practices and policies. The committee processes a total of more than 10,000 awards annually. Depending on the degree of support, the level of recognition rises from the local level to DoD's highest level, the Employer's Support Freedom Award.
The first level, "My Boss is a Patriot," is a certificate of appreciation and a pin. The second, the local committee Chair Award is designed to recognize employers in the local area that have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave of absence for their members.
The next level is the Pro-Patriot Award. It goes to employers who adopt personnel policies and regulations that make it easier for their employees to participate in reserve component programs.
The defense secretary annually presents the most prestigious -- the Employer Support Freedom Award -- to employers that provide unique support to the reserve components.
This year, Midwest Express Airlines received the National Employer Support Freedom Award. DoD cited the airline because they are extremely supportive of their reserve component employees.
With a workforce of some 3,000, the company pays the difference between civilian and military pay for those who are deployed. Midwest Express also extends other benefits like medical, dental, life insurance, vacation pay and profit sharing to deployed military members, and continues to make 401(K) contributions.
DoD selected the company as the national winner from nominations submitted by more than 9,400 reserve component members. Local Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve committees further nominated 23 of these employers for consideration.
A selection board of committee members reviewed the nominations and chose finalists. A grassroots committee of reserve component members then reviewed the finalists and selected the national winner.
DoD also recognized regional winners:
- American Express, a global travel, financial and network services provider, with a service center in Salt Lake City;
- Framatome Connectors USA Inc., a worldwide supplier of electronic and electrical connectors and interconnection systems based in Manchester, N.H.;
- Intel Corp., a semiconductor manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, N.M.;
- Technology Concepts and Design, Inc., a professional services company specializing in the development and application of computer technology, in Manassas, Va.
"The outstanding support provided by the five companies here today, not only assisted the service men and women they employ, they set an example for all of corporate America," Charles Cragin, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs, said at the Nov. 2 award ceremony at the Pentagon.
"If successful cutting edge companies such as these, leaders in these fields, see strong support for our military as an important civic responsibility, it will surely make an impression on businesses across our nation."
For more information on the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve awards ceremony go to: http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2000/b11022000_bt675-00.html.
For more information on the committee go to: www.esgr.org.