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South Dakota

Committee Leadership

Mr. James White State Chair
Mr. Ron Mielke Chair Emeritus
Mr. Don Kelpin Lewis and Clark Area Chair
Mr. Randy Rakness Glacial Lakes Area Chair
Mr. Mike Birnbaum Black Hills Area Chair
Mr. Ralph Borkowski Ombudsman Director
Ms. Laurie Fluit Bosslift Director
Ms. Stef Garland Public Affairs Director
Mr. Steve Hauck Employer Outreach Director
Vacant Military Outreach Director
Ms. Lona Christensen Training Director
Ms. Mary De Leeuw/Ms. Gloria Bauske Awards Co-Directors
Ms. Kathleen Schuh Volunteer Coordinator

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, is comprised of dedicated and trained volunteers and staff. We will develop and promote employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and Service members.

ESGR informs and educates Service members and their civilian employers regarding their rights and responsibilities governed by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). ESGR does not have statutory authority to enforce, but serves as a neutral, free resource to employers and service members. ESGR’s trained ombudsmen provide mediation of issues relating to compliance with USERRA.

Contact Information

Priscilla Harkin Volunteer Support Technician 801 W. National Guard Drive
Sioux Falls SD 57104

CPT Chad Carlson Program Director 2823 West Main Street
Rapid City SD 57702


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July 29, 2021Yankton School District named 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipient

WASHINGTON ­– Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III named Yankton School District one of the 15 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, in recognition of the organization’s exemplary support for its National Guard and Reserve employees.   

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Fifteen Exceptional Employers Recognized for Top Honor

WASHINGTON ­– The Department of Defense is pleased to announce the 15 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

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April 21, 2021ESGR Recognizes 2020 Volunteers of the Year

ALEXANDRIA, Va. –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve announces the 2020 Volunteers of the Year (VOTY). Volunteers who serve in following functional and operational areas were nominated by their respective State Committee for the prestigious honor of being named Volunteer of the Year: Military Outreach, Employer Outreach, Public Affairs, Training, Ombudsman, and Operations.

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