HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) 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 PENNDOT with the Patriot Award for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces during ESGR’s 50th Anniversary year.
PENNDOT’s Kelli Scalia was nominated for the Patriot Award by Sgt. Amber Chamberlin who is a member of the 121 St Transportation Company stationed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
In nominating Scalia, Chamberlin said: “Kelli has been very supportive of my military service since the day I was interview for the job. Despite a very short notice of a 2021 deployment, she remained understanding and supportive. During the 2021-2022 overseas deployment, Kelli consistently kept in touch with me and was always asking if there is anything she could do for me. She is always very understanding when I must miss work for military duties and encourages me to strive for excellence in both my civilian and military careers, and often gives me advice or words of encouragement to help me succeed in both.” Chamberlin concluded: “Having a supervisor like Kelli has helped me tremendously with balancing my civilian and soldier life. I’m extremely appreciative of her support.”
Presenting the award to Scalia on behalf of ESGR was William Burkhard, Pennsylvania North Central Area Chair. Burkhard 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.” Burkhard added: “Today’s members of the National Guard and Reserves are highly trained and skilled; they bring integrity, a global perspective and, proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
Scalia signed an ESGR Statement of Support confirming that PENNDOT 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 crises 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.”
PENNDOT 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, PENNDOT 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 www.ESGR.mil.