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Friday, August 22, 2008

Connecticut Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve


The following is a column by Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, posted here in its entirety, for the benefit of Elm City Express readers.





The visual: a tank sitting quietly in the field.
The copy: It weighs 68 tons. It can cross a desert at 40 mph.
It can hit a target from 2.5 miles.
The tagline: Without Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve,
it might not move an inch.



With all due respect to that printed ad, that’s a pretty powerful statement of the role employers can play in supporting our military. I recently attended a ceremony honoring Travelers Company. Big deal you might think—so a large corporation gets another recognition—but this one was more meaningful than most.

Travelers Company had been nominated by one of its employees for a Patriot Award. The Patriot Award is given by ESGR—Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve—and the employee who nominated them was a National Guardsman who is being deployed. He simply wanted to say thank you to his employer for being supportive of him and his family while he is away serving his country.

Connecticut is blessed with employers all over the state who are recognized on Connecticut ESGR’s website as members—Avon, Cromwell, Essex, Pawcatuck, Willimantic, Norwalk, and Old Saybrook are just a few of the towns with employers who support employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve.

According the ESGR’s website (www.esgr.org) National Guard and Reserve members make up about 48 percent of the military. As our world continues to change and war is an ever present threat, more and more Guard and Reserve members are being called upon to defend our country and protect our way of life. Of course our immediate thoughts go to the spouses and children left behind but increasingly, employers and co-workers of service members are affected.

As an organization under the Department of Defense, ESGR “promotes cooperation and understanding between…members and their civilian employers to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.” Connecticut has more than 7500 reservists and guardsmen serving around the world.

Employers large and small are struggling to survive in the economy, employees are working harder to make ends meet so when a service members gets called away on duty for a year long tour of duty (maybe more than one depending on the situation) the pressure on the employer increases. It would be very easy to replace the employee, to say it’s the employees’ choice to serve and let them walk out the door without another thought. Due to federal law that is not possible, but again, Connecticut employers go above and beyond.

Connecticut’s employers have stepped up to the plate—supporting their employee, supporting the family, coworkers have pitched in covering projects, staying in touch with the family and praying for their coworker’s safety. Everyone is affected by the War on Terror and everyone is finding their way to contribute—large and small. No effort is unappreciated, no thought in vain.

This ceremony was on Guardsman thanking one company. I want to thank all the Connecticut companies who are Connecticut ESGR members, who are part of the Employer Partnership Program which supports Army Reservists, or any other way you are stepping to the plate and showing support of our service members.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank the serviceman for recognizing his employer, Travelers, for their commitment to their employee and all of Connecticut’s employers who are members of Connecticut Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

And of course, a special thank you and continued prayers for the safety of our military serving around the world.

If you are an employer interested in learning more about Connecticut Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, please contact Connecticut ESGR President Lew Vasquez at 860-306-3462. The website is www.ctesgr.org.

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