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ESGR in the News


ROCHESTER, Minn. – James Keller of Keller Tattoo of Rochester was the recipient of the ESGR Patriot Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) in recognition of his support of his military employee, Spc. Jesse Ashenfelter, who nominated him for this award. Ashenfelter serves in the Army Reserve in Worthington, Minnesota.

Ashenfelter recognized Keller for his support and mentoring of Jesse upon his return from deployment in July of 2022. Jesse said, “James allowed me to watch him tattoo so I could learn a few things, and that summer, day after day of me coming to his shop unpaid, he saw how determined I was and provided me what I needed to get set up in my own tattoo station. I am now a tattoo artist and living the life I dreamed of when I was deployed last year, thanks to James.”

Ashenfelter, along with Trish Gathje, an ESGR committee member, provided James with the Patriot Award in recognition of his mentoring of Jesse in the tattoo business Feb. 20.

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service member in the National Guard and Reserve through outreach, recognition and educational opportunities and increase awareness of applicable laws. ESGR also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers. This year, ESGR celebrates 51 years of excellence in support of the Reserve Components and their civilian employers. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590.

Picture from left to right: Spc. Jesse Ashenfelter, James Keller, and Trish Gathje ESGR.

Posted in: Minnesota
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