Spouses Can Nominate Boss for Patriot Award
Special to American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 10, 2011 Spouses of National Guard and Reserve service members are invited to nominate their employers for the Patriot Award, following a recent expansion in the program, announced yesterday by the Defense Department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve agency.
Nominations for the Patriot Award were previously open only to Guard and Reserve service members to nominate their employers.
However, after learning of the growing number of employers with supportive initiatives for military spouses, ESGR added nominations for spouses’ employers, who will receive their own DOD award, the only one of its kind for military spouses.
Employers of military spouses are not legally obligated to provide special support, but Guard and Reserve spouses often share the challenges that go with military service. Child care, managing the household, and work schedules often have to be adjusted when a military spouse deploys.
Military spouses value the cooperation and encouragement of their employers just as much as those in the Guard and Reserve. The expansion of the Patriot Award honors flexible employers and is the only DOD-sanctioned award designated for spouses’ bosses.
The nation has relied heavily on Guard and Reserve service members during overseas military operations over the past decade. Reserve component members have deployed and fought with active-duty troops. Unlike spouses of active duty troops, Guard and Reserve spouses often don’t live near a network of large military bases. In many cases, an employer is a spouse’s strongest support community.
Spouses already have begun submitting nominations. Robyn Gellerup, a Wisconsin mother of three, works as an office manager for a construction company showroom.
“While my husband was deployed both times, [my employers took] care of us like we are part of their family, from mowing our lawn, plowing snow from our driveway, to performing maintenance on our vehicles and home,” Gellerup said. “It gave my husband peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong I could just pick up the phone and they’d be there.”
All spouses of Guard and Reserve members are eligible to nominate their employers. Nomination forms are accessible on the ESGR website. Each nominated supervisor will receive a Department of Defense Certificate of Appreciation, presented by the spouse’s employee or a volunteer from the ESGR State Committee.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 to develop and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers.
Paramount to ESGR’s mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit the agency’s website.