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ESGR in the News


MAPLE GROVE, Minn. – U.S. Navy Reserve, Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Matheny is presenting the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award to his employment supervisor, Aaron Benson.

The award was given May 8 at the office of Avonix Imaging in recognition of Aaron's support of his employee's service to the Navy Reserve. Matheny was very appreciative of Aaron's support and assistance with his Navy deployments and wanted to honor Aaron. 

"My supervisor recognizes the benefit and advantages of having an employee who is also in the Navy Reserves and actively seeks to utilize the advantage that brings,” said Matheny. “For example, we frequently service customers that have government contracts and my supervisor utilizes me for these assignments. When informed that I would be sent on active duty orders for a year, I wasn't given a hard time and my schedule was modified to accommodate my military commitments.”

Matheny went on to say, “They also actively backfilled my position and have given me no grief about this. During a recent company team building event, my supervisors expressed to my wife how much of an asset I was to the team and that they were looking forward to my return from active duty. Several team members also gave her contact information and told her to reach out if she needed anything while I was on orders. The team also stays in contact with me and because of my active duty orders have kept me in the local area. They continue to invite me to company morale events, such as special luncheons or to a funday where the staff plays putt-putt or go kart races."

In addition to presenting a Patriot Award, Aaron Benson signed an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statement of Support, confirming 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 crises and in war.

Also present was Bill Obedoza, an ESGR Minnesota Committee member. 

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the National Guard and Reserve through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that 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 or visit

Photo left to right: Cmdr. John M Stump, Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Matheny, Patriot Award recipient Aaron Benson, Minnesota ESGR volunteer Bill Obedoza, Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Williams, Command Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Stigall.


Posted in: Minnesota
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