Patriotic Employer Awards

by Pam Goetting on October 23, 2017

Rod Bell, area chair for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR),

Rod Bell, area chair for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR),

FLORENCE – Employees of two Northern Kentucky businesses have received awards for exemplary support of members of the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.

Rod Bell, area chair for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), presented the awards at a meeting of the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, Oct. 16. ESGR is a Department of Defense program that aids National Guard and Reservists who serve part-time in the military while working at full-time civilian jobs.

The dual roles take a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of commitment, Bell said. The ESGR awards recognize employers who help Reserve and Guard troops balance their work demands and military service.

The recipients of Patriotic Employer awards are:

  • Brian Foster, Fidelity Investments, nominated by Tom Collins.
  • Lionel Hamilton, Ge On Wing Support, Inc., nominated by Sgt. Major Randall Anderson.

The Department of Defense created ESGR in 1972 at a time service members were not always well-received when they returned from an unpopular war in Southeast Asia. “We learned our lessons from Vietnam,” Bell said.

Nearly half of United States’ military strength currently resides in the National Guard and Reserve, according to ESGR. Philip K. Miller, state chair of ESGR. said some Kentucky National Guard and Reservists have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan as many as six times in the past 16 years. The typical deployment lasts 18 months, he said.

“That leaves very little time for civilian employment, very little time for educational opportunities,” Miller said.

ESGR tries to help soldiers sustain civilian careers and get back into the workforce upon return from active military service. Finding employment and keeping them employed in their home communities stabilizes communities, Miller said.

The Patriotic Employer awards recognize supervisors and bosses for support to the nominating service member. The support may include flexible schedules, time off before or after deployment, care for other family members, or leaves of absence if necessary.