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ESGR in the News


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced that Penn State Applied Research Laboratory recently received the Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of employees serving in the Pennsylvania Guard and Reserve.  

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to present employers with a Patriot Award for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces during ESGR’s 50th Anniversary year.

Penn State Applied Research Laboratory’s Brice Toth was nominated for the Patriot Award by Chief Petty Officer John Groenveld, a U.S. Navy Reservist.  Groenveld stated, “Brice has been a strong supporter of my Navy Reserve service including short-fused requirements for me to provide operational support to my Navy gaining command.”

William Burkhard, Pennsylvania North Central Area ESGR Chair, presented the Patriot Award to Toth. In presenting the award, Burkhard commented: “I know first-hand how critical it is to pay tribute to those companies and employers that hire and support our Guard and Reserve forces.”  

Mr. Toth indicated his appreciation for the recognition and said that he “think(s) it is extremely important to support employees who are serving and to show that we value their service and the sacrifices they make.

Penn State ARL’s Executive Director Allan Sonsteby participated in the Patriot Award presentation ceremony and expressed his appreciation for Toth’s support of Groenveld’s service in the Navy Reserves. “I am extremely proud of ARL’s support to our employees that are active in the Guard and Reserves. A culture of support is critical to enabling our Guard and Reservists to continue to serve” said Sonsteby.

Burkhard presented Toth and Sonsteby with an ESGR 50th year anniversary commemorative Challenge Coin.  ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers. 

In addition to presenting a Patriot Award, Burkhard obtained a Statement of Support from Sonsteby.  The Statement of Support confirms that the company joins other employers in pledging:

  • We fully recognize, honor, and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • We will provide our managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
  • We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists and Veterans.
  • We will continually recognize and support our country’s service members and their families, in peace, in crisis and in war.

“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units,” said Burkhard.  “I am asking all North Central Pennsylvania employers to take a look at their current human resources policies to incorporate policies supportive of Guard and Reserve employees.”  Many Pennsylvania employers provide support above and beyond their legal requirements by law by offering pay-differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits, which complement coverage provided by the military, when their employees mobilize.”

Penn State ARL joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces.  Burkhard added: “By signing the Statement of Support, Penn State ARL is sending a clear message to its employees that while they are serving their country, they do not have to worry about their civilian jobs.” 

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective, and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.  

For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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