HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced the death of George Mentzer.
Mentzer who was from Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania passed away in the early morning hours of December 8 after a brief struggle with cancer. He became an ESGR volunteer in March 2004 and throughout the years he demonstrated his dedication to the organization’s missions, the most notable being his commitment to serving members of our nation’s Reserve Forces and employers.
In addition to his position as an Area Chair in the South-Central Pennsylvania Region, he was the Assistant Ombudsman Director for the Commonwealth. In another capacity, Mentzer was a central figure in Pennsylvania ESGR’s annual BossLift event held at Fort Indiantown Gap in the South-Central region. Much of the success of the BossLift program is attributed to Mentzer’s hard work and employer briefings. In his Ombudsman position, he developed an in-depth knowledge of the USERRA law and became an advocate that mediated cases he was assigned. Mentzer routinely visited Guard and Reserve units to brief service members on the rights and obligation delineated in the law.
Mentzer’s tenure with ESGR spanned across three ESGR State Chairs: Marty Kuhar, Chair, (2020-present); Wesley Craig, State Chair Emeritus (2008-2011 and 2017-2020); and Denise Gross-Enders, State Chair Emeritus (2011-2017). The following are their thoughts about Mentzer’s service to ESGR, our nations Reserve forces, and employers:
Kuhar’s reflections: “George Mentzer was a true Patriot that continually served today's Reserve Component Military. He was quite active in briefing Military Units, Employers, Office Holders, and Civic Organizations throughout the middle of the state; while ensuring that everyone’s employment rights, guaranteed by the Dept of Defense, were observed. He was well respected by all that knew him throughout the state.”
Craig’s reflections: “I had the pleasure of working with George since I joined ESGR in 2007. He was cheerful, dedicated, and very committed to furthering the ESGR mission and ensuring support by all Citizen Soldiers’ employers in Pennsylvania.”
Regarding Mentzer’s Ombudsman duties, Craig said: “George was an outstanding Ombudsman who provided excellent mediation services between hundreds of service members and their employers. He worked hard to ensure both sides to any dispute were able to settle their differences amicably.”
On Mentzer’s support of BossLift events, Craig stated: “George was a fixture and prime supporter in our two decades of annual BossLifts at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG). This program brought 25-30 employers to FTIG every year to discover just what their employees in the Guard and Reserve did during training assemblies.”
Craig closed with the observations that: “The service members of the Guard and Reserve are very grateful for his service in building the bridge of support between them and their employer. I will personally miss him a great deal!”
Gross-Enders’ reflections: “I had the pleasure of working very closely with George Mentzer. George served honorably as one of our most active volunteers during the entire time of my tenure. He was revered as one of the most knowledgeable, talented, and experienced volunteers ever to serve the committee. He wore many hats and always rose to the challenge when asked to assist with events, briefings, and administrative tasks. His passion for helping service members and employers build healthy relationships was evident by all who served alongside of him. George’s work with the PA ESGR Committee will surely be missed. May he rest in peace knowing, his mission here on earth, has had an everlasting, positive impact on the many lives he touched.”
State Vice Chair Susan Robertson reflected on his interaction with Mentzer by stating: “George never had to be asked to do something, he was always one step ahead of everyone getting things done before anyone even knew they needed done. If there was a task to do, it only had to be mentioned and George was on it. I am thankful I was blessed knowing and working with George. He will be truly missed!”
South-Central Area Chair James Astor reflected on his volunteer work with Mentzer: “George became my most reliable resource when I was asked to take over the South-Central Chair when Gross-Enders became State Chair. He was always there when needed and would always give more than asked. George was always active volunteering; as a substitute teacher and Ombudsman George was always providing unit briefings, presenting awards, assisting with BossLift, and evaluating the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award nominations. George was, to me, the most active volunteer in PA. He was a great co-chair, a great friend, and someone I was proud to work with.”
Terry Curran is the Pennsylvania ESGR State Ombudsman Director who stated: “As the Assistant Ombudsman Director, George Mentzer is an extremely valuable resource; he was always ready at moment’s notice to fill in to assign cases when I was not able. He was always on top of each case; he mentored and assisted ombudsman working cases. Georges was always there to help researching the law as it applied to each case. In addition to researching legal information, he communicated with national to keep them informed about hard cases and sought advise about cases. George’s outstanding communications skills enabled him to build bridges between employers and employees. At the state level, George assisted in developing and implementing annual Ombudsman refresher training. Pennsylvania has lost an outstanding Ombudsman and volunteer, one that will be extremely hard to replace.”
One individual having more frequent contact with Mentzer is PA ESGR’s Volunteer Support Technician, Theresa Arentzen. Her reflection on working with Mentzer included in part the following: “I had the pleasure and privilege of working with George Mentzer since I was hired in 2007. I met George for the first time at our All-Ranks training event at Fort Indiantown Gap. He was an extremely dedicated and energetic ESGR volunteer.”
Arentzen continued by commenting on Mentzer’s interpersonal skills and work ethic: “George enjoyed training/teaching all the new members; he did an excellent job of educating new members about ESGR’s mission, policies, and procedures during every All-Ranks event. Furthermore, George was our go to our ‘go to guy’ for all our events at Fort Indiantown Gap. He really enjoyed helping set up the Keystone Conference Center for all our BossLifts and employer recognition events.”
Arentzen concluded her thoughts about her working relationship with Mentzer by stating: “This is a huge loss for all of us at ESGR, and it is a double loss for me because of my close working relationship with George. As we grow, we have an opportunity to choose those we call our friends and to allow into our family, and I chose him to be one of my big brothers. I know I lived a more joyful life with ESGR because he was in it; his legacy will live within me and all the ESGR volunteers who had an opportunity to interact with George. I am so honored and blessed to have worked with him. George, buddy, big brother you will be missed. We’ll take it from here Godspeed.”
Rest in Peace True and Faithful Servant!
PHOTO (L-R): Pennsylvania Chair Marty Kuhar presenting a Seven Seals Award to South-Central Area Chair and Ombudsman George Mentzer, April 2022.