Consulting Firm to Receive Top Employer Support Award
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2007 Mississippi National Guardsman Larry Key said he feels like “part of a big family” in his civilian job at CHE Consulting.
The regional manager has deployed several times with the Guard, totaling about one year of tours over his 10-year career at the company, which has its headquarters in Fenton, Mo. During deployments, CHE Consulting paid Key his regular salary and continued providing benefits for Key, his wife and their two sons.
“(The company) has made us feel like we don’t just have a job there, but that we have a home and family, and that they’re going to take care of us no matter what happens,” he said.
For the exceptional support Key has received over the past decade, he nominated his employer for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. CHE Consulting, Inc. is one of 15 companies or organizations slated to receive the top employer-support award during a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building here Sept. 12.
“At other places you work for, you basically feel like a cog in the whole machine,” Key said. “And (David York, president and chief executive officer of CHE Consulting), whether or not he has been supporting me on a deployment, has made me feel like I’m a person that counts.”
Key said that York, who served 12 years in the Air Force and Army, shares a common background with CHE employees who deploy with the reserves or National Guard.
“He understands the trials and tribulations we go through when we have to leave our families behind and go into combat somewhere,” Key said. “He’s been in that situation.”
The regional manager praised York’s policies and called them “a great statement by the boss.”
York said he supports his staff members because the stress of deployment should not be compounded by financial worries.
“Our warfighters, whether they be Guard or Reserve, that work for this company, don’t need to have problems with financial stress in their life or worry about whether they’re going to have a house or car, or whether their family’s going to be taken care of while they’re in harm’s way or representing this country,” he said. “What they need to do is stay focused on the country’s mission as well as keeping themselves safe so they can return to their family.”
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.