NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill. – The Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, conducted its Annual Awards Banquet March 27 at the Port O' Call Banquet and Conference Center, located on Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. The event was to honor more than 40 employers who have gone beyond the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in support of their Guard or Reserve employees.
The dinner banquet was attended by more than 140 people, including military and civilian dignitaries, employers, and service members. We were honored to be joined by Ted Fessel, Deputy Executive Director Headquarters ESGR. The Chair of the Illinois ESGR field committee, Colonel (Retired) Ron Bacci, also welcomed:
Maj. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, the Adjutant General of Illinois
Col. (Ret) John Moulton, US Army Reserve Ambassador of Illinois
Brig. Gen. Richard Hayes, Deputy Adjutant General – Illinois Army National Guard
Brig. Gen. Stephen Curda, Commander of the 351st Civil Affairs Command
Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Irizarry II, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army Reserve Command
Brig. Gen. (Ret) John Fascia, Illinois Army National Guard
Capt. Jim Hawkins, Commander, Naval Station Great Lakes
Col. Jeffery Goodes, Commander, Marine Air Control Group 48
Sgt. Major Daniel Miller, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, USMC
Col. (Ret) Jill Morgenthaler, former US Army Reserve Ambassador
Chaplain (Lt. Col. RET) Paul Pfeffer
Attending from the Illinois ESGR Executive Committee were:
Michael Holub, Vice-Chair and Public Affairs Director
Terry McCollom, Military Outreach Director and North Central Area Chair
Bennett Krause, Employer Initiative Program Director
Richard Franzen, Ombudsman Services Director
Tim Franklin, Training Director
Laurie Silvey, Awards Director
Captain (Ret) Bill Glynn, North East Area Chair
Robert Schwieder, North West Area Chair
Joe Schweickert, Central West North Area Chair
Bill Hrabik, Central East Area Chair
Stan Zielinski, Central West Area Chair
Dayton Loyd, South East Area Chair, and
Jim Osberg, Higher Education Outreach
The evening began with a welcome from Michael Holub, Vice-Chair and Public Affairs Director of IL ESGR, who served as the emcee for the evening. His welcome was followed by the posting of the Colors by the Great Lakes Navy Honor Guard, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Seaman Danlie B. Cuenca.
After dinner, Illinois ESGR Chair Ron Bacci introduced the keynote speaker for the evening, Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Irizarry II, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army Reserve Command.
Two special presentations were made following Irizarry’s comments. Terry McCollom, the Illinois ESGR Military Outreach Director and North Central Area Chair was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Dedicated Service from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by Ron Bacci. Terry is also an Ombudsman and he has served with Illinois ESGR for more than 25 years.
Next, Michael Holub was presented with a congratulatory letter from Secretary of the Army John McHugh on his more than 42 years of service to the nation as a soldier and police officer. John Moulton, US Army Reserve Ambassador for Illinois, presented the award on behalf of Secretary McHugh.
After the comments Laurie Silvey, Awards Director for IL ESGR, took the stage and introduced the award winners in the various categories. She read the narratives that were written by the service members for each of the individual awards. The narratives revealed the extraordinary amount of support the service members received from their employers. Listed below are the categories and the recipients, starting with the Seven Seals Awards.
The “Seven Seals Award” is presented at both the State and National levels to honor a wide array of support for service members from all seven reserve components and is the only ESGR award that bridges both the employer and volunteer recognition programs. It was created to publicly recognize individuals who provide significant achievement and initiative, to include the efforts of more than 4,800 volunteers who carry out ESGR’s mission across the nation on a daily basis. Those receiving the Seven Seals Award were:
· Exelon Corporation
· Casey First Church of the Nazarene
· Gateway Service Center
· Plitek, Inc.
· Pugsley Container
· Southwestern Illinois College
The next category of awards was the “Above And Beyond” Awards. As the name implies, is designed to recognize those employers who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, in granting leave to their guard and reserve employees for military duty. Those receiving the Above and Beyond Award were:
· Accenture - ComEd
· Allstate Insurance Corporation
· Bank of America Merrill Lynch
· Baxter Healthcare
· Capitol Strategies
· Catlin, Inc.
· Century Moving, an Agent for Bekin Van Lines
· Chicago Park District Avalon Park
· City of Danville Department of Public Works
· City of Rolling Meadows/Rolling Meadows Police Department
· Coble Animal Hospital
· Decatur Industrial Electric
· Farmers Insurance Group, Lisle, Il
· Goodworth Kitchie And Associates LLP
· Health Care Service Corporation
· Hirschbach Motor Lines
· Hulcher Services Inc.
· Hydra Force Inc.
· Illinois CPA Society
· JP Morgan Chase
· Kirkland & Ellis LLP
· Kraft Foods
· Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
· Lyons Township High School
· National Louis University
· Northern Macoupin County "North Mac" School District #34
· SAC Wireless
· Siemens Building Technology
· Toyota of Naperville
· WW Grainger Inc., Arlington Heights
· WW Grainger Inc., Lake Forest
The final category of award presented was the “Pro Patria Award,” which is the highest ESGR award that can be given by a state field committee. Employers in Illinois are recognized with this award each year in one of three categories: Large Company, Small Company and Public Sector Employer. It is presented to those employers who demonstrate exceptional support for our national defense by adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.
Receiving the Pro Patria Award were:
· United Airlines (Large Company)
· Reed Smith, LLP (Large Company)
· Illinois State Police, District 15 – Investigations (Public Sector Employer)
· Gabby Goat American Pub & Grill (Small Company)
Photos from the Illinois ESGR Awards Dinner can be viewed at the following location:
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is an office of the Department of Defense and is the lead advocate within the Department of Defense for Reserve Component employers. Its mission is to gain and maintain the support of employers for service in the Reserve Components by increasing awareness of the law, recognizing outstanding support and helping to resolve conflicts through informal mediation. Thousands of ESGR volunteers nationwide provide free education, consultation and, if needed, neutral mediation for employers of Guardsmen and Reservists. More information about ESGR employer outreach programs and services is available at http://www.esgr.mil. Find Illinois ESGR on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisESGR