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ESGR in the News


HORSHAM, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Chair Marty Kuhar and the entire state volunteer committee congratulate Del Spafford of Du Bois for being selected to receive the prestigious James M. Roche Spirit of Volunteerism Award.  This is the highest volunteer award given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office.  The recent announcement that Spafford was the award recipient came from National ESGR Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  A presentation date has not yet been determined.

The Roche award is named for James M. Roche, who served several years as the ESGR National Chair after retiring as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board at General Motors Corporation.  A past quote attributed Roche reads, as follows: "Anybody who achieves a top position in an organization owes a debt of some kind.  If you have a talent and you have your health, you should help others."

Kuhar nominated Spafford for the award for having served ESGR for 34-years; his contributions to the state committee, Service members, community, and employers are noteworthy.  His service to ESGR embodies the spirit patriotism and service.  Since joining the Pennsylvania committee in 1989, Spafford has the distinguished honor of being the longest continuing serving committee member.  In addition to his longevity as a volunteer, he has served 19 years as the Northwest Area Chair and as an active Ombudsman.  What is most noteworthy is that his service in the various duty positions overlapped and his accumulated service time includes an astonishing total of 1,285 volunteer hours during the last eight years.

Spafford holds a long list of achievements and awards in his tenure with ESGR, he’s received: four State Committee Level Awards, a 20-year ESGR Longevity Pin, a Seven Seals Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.   In October 2022 Spafford received the Spirit of Volunteerism Award and said, “a rewarding part of my ESGR volunteer time was meeting with employers and members of the Reserve forces to provide information about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) and to resolve service-related conflicts.  Also, I particularly enjoyed presenting Patriot Awards to employers for their outstanding support of those who serve in our nation’s uniformed services.”  When asked he had any intention of retiring, Spafford stated: “I have no intention of retiring from ESGR.  I want to be actively involved and continue my service if there is anything within an hour or two traveling time.”

Spafford retired as the full-time Administrative Officer and Battalion Commander of an Artillery Battalion of Pennsylvania’s famous 28th Division of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.  Commanding Reserve Component soldiers, he fully understood the challenges of being a citizen soldier and used that knowledge while supporting ESGR’s mission of Military and Employer Outreach.

In nominating Spafford, Kuhar said: “Del Spafford is an outstanding ESGR volunteer and fully exemplifies the tenets of the James Roche award. He is truly deserving of this high honor.  It is an honor to serve with him and I was very pleased to recommend him for this award.”  Kuhar presented the award during the state committee’s annual All Ranks conference held on March 25th in the Keystone Conference Center at Fort Indiantown Gap; Spafford’s family attended the ceremony.

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 #1: State Chair Marty Kuhar; Roche Award Recipient Del Spafford; two State’s Chair Emeritus Wes Craig and Denise Gross Enders.

Photo #2: Seated, Roche Award recipient Del Spafford; standing (L to R) Ed Askey, Del’s son-in-law; State Chair Emeritus Wes Craig; State Chair Marty Kuhar; Shelly Askey, Del’s daughter; State Chair Emeritus Denise Gross Enders; Cole Lunger, Del’s granddaughter’s boyfriend; and, Grace Askey, Del’s granddaughter. 

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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