ESGR Recognizes Employers
By Major Audra Flanagan and Master Sgt. Ralph Kapustka, 148th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 05, 2011
OAKDALE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) held their annual recognition banquet on Monday at the Prom Center in Oakdale, Minn. Three employers of 148th Fighter Wing members were recognized at the event with "Above and Beyond Awards", they are:
· The City of Duluth
· Tender Loving Care Inc. of Duluth
· Carlson Wagonlit Travel of Ely
The "Above and Beyond Award" is given to a limited number of employers annually. It recognizes employers at the state and local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees.
Mayor Don Ness accepted the "Above and Beyond Award" on behalf of the City of Duluth. Duluth employs 16 148th Fighter Wing members in the Fire Department, Police Department, Public Works and Duluth International Airport. The award nomination for the City stated "Upon returning from deployments, National Guard members are welcomed home by their supervision and peers. Guard members are always returned to the position they held prior to deploying." City of Duluth employees supported at least 12 overseas deployments with the 148th to locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lynn Kerntz of Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Ely Office accepted the "Above and Beyond Award" that was submitted Tech. Sergeant Ronda Carpenter who has deployed five times in the last 10 years, and just recently returned from Iraq. Tech. Sgt. Carpenter stated that "I am so thankful that Lynn has really been so supportive of when I have to leave. It may not always be the best time for me to be gone, but Lynn has the attitude that we can make it work".
Kevin Johnson of Tender Loving Care Inc. also accepted an award which was submitted by Senior Airman Lucas Haldorson. Haldorson submitted his employer for the award as he felt "they are military friendly employers who view military service as a positive rather than a hindrance".
Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Craig McKinley was the key note speaker at the event. Gen. McKinley gave a heartfelt thank you to all the employers that attended the event. "The commitment comes from our top corporate leaders on down to make sure that our men and women in uniform are well supported and taken care of. It's a wonderful thing to have the support of our employers."
ESGR is a Department of Defense Organization whose mission is to gain and maintain employer support for the Guard and Reserve by recognizing employer support, increasing the awareness of law and resolving conflicts through mediation. ESGR provides free education, consultation and, if necessary, mediation for Guard and Reserve members and their employers if they have questions or problems. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) were established to protect both military members and their employers. More information can be found at www.esgr.org