By Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka, 148th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 12, 2011
DULUTH, Minn. -- The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award recognizes companies that provide outstanding support for employees who participate in the National Guard and Reserve forces.
United Healthcare and its regional manager Reid Olson were recently honored for just that type of support. For his efforts, Olson was presented with the Patriot Award during a ceremony that took place at United Healthcare located in Duluth, Minn. Lt. Col. Rob Skaar, Major Ryan Kaspari, Senior Master Sgt. Kelvin McCuskey and Senior Airman Teri Eicher, who nominated her civilian employer, were all on hand to present the award as representatives of the Minnesota Air National Guard, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.
Senior Airman Eicher was placed on active duty at the 148th Fighter Wing as an Emergency Management Specialist for close to a year back-filling for Senior Master Sgt. McCuskey while he was deployed out of country. Her filling the position was crucial to the Wing maintaining its readiness status.
United Healthcare and Olson were nominated by Eicher due to their continued communications with her during the time she was on active duty, ensuring her benefits were handled properly and for providing a smooth reintegration back into her civilian job.
With the nation's reserve components making up approximately 48% of our total available manpower and the Guard's role continually increasing, it is going to be more important than ever to ensure that civilian employers are recognized for their sacrifice and much needed support.