Employer awards recognize outstanding support for reservists

Reservists acknowledge their employers

By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Moody

Steven Sumida, left, and Eric Gilstrap, right, receive the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, center, nominated Frontier Communications for the award.

(446th AW PA) - Sometimes it may not be easy for a citizen airman to balance his or her family life, military commitment, and civilian career. But having a strong backing from an employer who understands the importance of the Reserve and National Guard components can make it a little easier for them.

That's why there are awards available to recognize these employers. Reservists who want to acknowledge their employer for their support can nominate them for one of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognition awards.

The focus of the ESGR is to promote an understanding and the importance of the Reserve and National Guard functions to employers, as well as encourage employers in the development of human resource policies and practices that support an employee's participation in the military.

Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, 36th Aerial Port Squadron ramp specialist at McChord Field, recognized his employer Frontier Communications, by nominating them for the ESGR Patriot Award. During a ceremony in Beaverton, Ore., Kandice Newton, Oregon ESGR representative and Sergeant Pritchett presented Eric Gilstrap and Steven Sumida, Frontier Communications managers, with ESGR's Patriot Award Certificate of Appreciation and a Patriot lapel pin on behalf of the Department of Defense.

"My employer has been more than willing to work with my Reserve schedule regarding weekend duty and military training," said Pritchett. "With my deployment in November, they have shown multiple avenues of support for the military mission. It is great to be able work for them," said the Frontier Communications technician. Pritchett is currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Newton knows what it's like to work with many supportive companies like Frontier Communications.

"Frontier Communications signed a Statement of Support and stated their willingness to assist with future events such as Transition Assistance Program workshops and job fairs held specifically for veterans, guardsmen and reservists seeking employment," said Newton.

For more information on these awards, visit www.esgr.org.