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ESGR in the News


GRANTVILLE, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that Susquehanna Service Dogs director recently received a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.  

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors 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.

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to present Director Deb Tack of Susquehanna Service Dogs with the Patriot Award for the strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces during ESGR’s 50th Anniversary year. 

Tack was nominated for the Patriot Award by Staff. Sgt. Brittany MacBlane who is a member of the 193rd Air Operations Group of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard located in State College, Pennsylvania. 

In nominating Tack, MacBlane stated: “Deb is always incredibly supportive whenever I get called away.  I was called to a ‘Permanent Change of Station’ assignment for a six-month tour of duty in Germany.  During that time, I was very stressed, but she reassured me that, of all things, work was not something I should stress about.  They would make it work while I was gone, and my job would be waiting for me when I returned.  She made sure everything was handled and I wasn't bothered with work questions/issues while I was away.  I was home for two months and ended up getting extended for another year.  Once again, Deb was amazing, so understanding, and happy for me that I got this opportunity.  She reached out multiple times to check in and see how I was doing.”

Presenting the award on behalf of ESGR was Jim Astor, Pennsylvania South Central Area Chair.  Astor commented: “It’s critical and an honor to recognize and pay tribute to those employers that hire and support our Guard and Reserve forces. It would be difficult for those in the uniformed services to perform their mission without employer support.”  Astor added: “Today’s members of the Guard and Reserves are highly trained and skilled; they bring integrity, a global perspective and, proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

Participating in the Patriot Award ceremony were Susquehanna Service Dogs’ President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chuck Sweeder and Vice President of Operations, Risk Management, and Property Management Bob Bausinger. 

Tack signed an ESGR Statement of Support confirming that Susquehanna Service Dogs 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 Astor.  “I am asking all South-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.”

Susquehanna Service Dogs joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces.  Astor added: “By signing the Statement of Support, Susquehanna Service Dogs 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

Photo courtesy Susquehanna Service Dogs

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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