SEPTEMBER 18, 2014, JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – The 244th Aviation Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company and the New Jersey Committee for Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve hosted an Employer Appreciation Day, here, Sept. 9.
Throughout the day, the NJESGR and HHC leaders showcased Army Reserve facilities, equipment and training sites in order to enable employers to gain a personal understanding of how reserve Soldiers serve the nation. Additionally, Soldier-nominated supervisors were honored with the ESGR Patriot Award for supporting employee participation in the Army Reserve.
From firing weapons in an engagement skills trainer to sitting in the pilot’s seat of a military aircraft, visitors received a rare insight into the life of a warrior-citizen.
“It’s been a very informative experience. It’s comforting to know our government is prepared to meet the needs of our country at home and abroad,” said Karl Yeager, an area manager of global network operations for AT&T. “These guys are working hard. They are truly dedicated and committed to serving.”
When members of the reserve component are mobilized, companies and community leaders shoulder the burden and provide invaluable support to service members and their families. With many Soldiers of the 244th Aviation Brigade currently mobilized, civilian employers have done just that.
“Today is just a small example of one of the ways we try to give back to our civilian employers,” said HHC Commander Capt. Mike Melillo. “We know the challenges they face when we serve in our military capacity, and we’re incredibly grateful to them for all the support they show us.”
Throughout the year, the 244th has served as the Defense Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Response Force Aviation Task Force. This task force, comprised of more than 500 personnel, has a responsibility to deploy within 24 hours anywhere in the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility to provide mission command of aviation assets in support of the lead federal agency and the Joint Task Force Civil Support commander.
Serving the nation in this real-world mission has been a rewarding experience, said Staff Sgt. John Fucci, a local area network manager at the HHC.
“I’ve learned so much during this tour,” said Fucci. “I’m definitely going to use what I’ve learned when I return to my civilian job.”
Fucci is one of the brigade’s Soldiers who is currently mobilized on a yearlong tour. When he’s not serving in uniform, he is a cable splicer at Verizon. He’s been at the same company for more than 24 years, and said he couldn’t be more grateful for the support they’ve shown him. Fucci’s supervisor, though unable to attend the ceremony, is one of 18 supervisors of HHC members slated to receive the Patriot Award.
Dennis Dougherty, NJESGR military outreach director, explained the critical role supervisors play in supporting Soldiers.
“Civilian employers are probably the only reason why we can do what we do,” said Dougherty, a retired Army colonel. “In most cases, employers go out of their way to accommodate Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers’ military service.”
The ESGR is a Department of Defense office designed to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve Soldiers and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. Additionally, the ESGR’s nationwide program, Hero 2 Hired, assists Soldiers in finding employment by linking Soldiers with job listings, potential employers, hiring events, etc.
An employee serving in the National Guard or Army Reserve, or the spouse of a guard or reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors for support provided directly to the nominating service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support Warrior Citizens through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.
For more information, visit www.esgr.mil. Additionally, interested Soldiers can sign up for Hero 2 Hired at www.H2H.jobs.