Indiana Guardsman Cites Freight Firm for Excellent Support
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2007 Indiana National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. McAllister is so impressed with the support provided by his employer, Con-way Inc., that he recommended that it receive a prestigious Defense Department award.
Con-way Inc. is among 15 businesses and organizations selected to receive this year’s Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. McAllister nominated the company for the annual award, which honors businesses and organizations that provide exemplary support for their employees in the Guard or reserves.
McAllister is a coordinator at Con-way Freight’s trucking hub in Plainfield, Ind., located near Indianapolis. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based firm is a division of Con-way Inc., a freight transportation and global logistics company based in San Mateo, Calif.
McAllister, 41, cited the company’s demonstrated concern and support for its employees in the Guard or reserves.
“It wasn’t so much all of the benefits. I mean, those are nice, because they’re above and beyond what the law requires,” McAllister explained.
Rather, he cited his employer’s practice of welcoming home employees returning from military duty.
“We’re obviously elated that the company was recognized, but as I’ve made it a point to share with people, we didn’t do it for any ‘brownie points’ if you will, or awards for us,” said David L. Miller, Con-way Freight’s chief operating officer.
“We’re doing it because we have the means to support our citizen-soldiers, and it is the right thing to do at the end of the day,” Miller said. “We only enjoy our freedoms because we have fine young men and women that are willing to put it on the line.”
Con-way Inc. and its subsidiaries provide differential pay to their employees in the Guard or reserves who are called up for active duty. The company also provides health benefits for spouses and children who remain at home and collects and delivers care packages of books, snacks and other items to overseas troops.
“We do a wage differential, so that when the guys or gals are deployed on active duty, whatever they would have earned here working for us, we make up the differential between what they make in the military vs. what they would have made here,” Miller explained.
Supporting employees in the Guard or reserves who’ve been activated for duty assists them to “have their heads in the mission,” so they can come home safely, Miller pointed out.
“We don’t want them having to look over their shoulders, wondering if their families are being taken care of when they are over there taking care of all of our families,” he said.
McAllister recalled being activated to participate in Operation Noble Eagle to guard airports and other vital U.S. infrastructure for two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He recently was activated again to help establish a new state training organization that will prepare Guard and reserve troops who’ve been mobilized for overseas duty.
The command sergeant major reiterated that his civilian employer excels at supporting its employees in the Guard or reserves. “I don’t have to worry about the way the company’s going to view me when I get back,” the senior noncommissioned officer said, noting his company is proud of its employees in the Guard or reserves.
The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom 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 Defense Department 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.
Miller will accept the Freedom Award on behalf of Con-way Inc. during a formal ceremony here Sept 12.