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Officials Encourage Guard, Reserve to Honor Employers

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 30, 2009 – Providing pay and benefits during deployments, sending care packages to deployed employees, allowing time off, and celebrating military service with send-off and homecoming ceremonies are just a few commitments that the Guard and Reserve’s top employers are honored for each year.

Officials here are asking Guard and Reserve servicemembers to speak out and honor their patriotic employers.

With ongoing global operations, support from employers for Guard and Reserve service is more critical now than ever, said Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve officials.

The ESGR’s mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support. It also increases awareness of the laws governing Guard and Reserve service and resolves potential employer-servicemember conflicts through mediation.

Guard and Reserve leaders continually stress how critical the support of families, communities and employers are to the defense of the nation.

“If you added up all of your family members and all the employers you touch, we have over a million people that directly know what we do with the National Guard of the United States,” Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told Guard leaders at a conference last month.

Guard and Reserve servicemembers can nominate their employers for the Patriot Award at http://www.esgr.org and the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award at http://www.freedomaward.mil. 

The Patriot Award recognizes all employers with a certificate and an accompanying lapel pin. Nominees are considered for other awards and recognition based on their level of support.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Defense Department. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 18.

Officials said the award was created to publicly recognize employers that provide exceptional support to their National Guard and Reserve employees.

More than 3,200 nominations for awards were submitted to ESGR this year.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

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Related Sites:
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award
Special Report: 2009 Employer Support Freedom Awards

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