GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Cooperatives have a long history in Montana dating back to 1902 with the founding of the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of American, known today at the National Farmers Union. Fast forward 122 years, the Montana Council of Cooperatives (MCOC), made up of 80 Montana cooperatives held their annual meeting and conference for 2024 in Great Falls this past week.
The MCOC the works to unite, promote and strengthen cooperative businesses across Montana. Membership for this council is made up of cooperatives ranging from Montana’s Credit Unions, and Montana Electrical Cooperative Association to Riverside Housing Cooperative.
Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (Montana ESGR) State Chair Tim Fox was on hand to share information with attendees about ESGR. As an office of the Department of Defense, ESGR has served our country for more than 50 years, fostering 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. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families.
Fox shared that ESGR has continued to adapt to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families, and America’s employers by joining forces with a network of other national, state, and local government and professional trade organizations. ESGR recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and resolves conflicts through mediation.
He explained that Montana ESGR is a resource for employers like Montana Cooperatives for questions and answers on what it means to employ a Montana Guard or Reserve member. Montana has 23 volunteers across the state who provide outreach and information to employers and Guard and Reserve members. MCOC attendees were invited to visit the ESGR booth for more information on employer outreach events such as the spring and summer programs with helicopter or C130 flights for employers.
During the event, MCOC Administrator Tracy McIntyre and Heidi Borlaugh, MCOC President signed an ESGR Statement of Support (SOS). Signing a certificate is a pledge to support of the military service of their employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserve. Once signed, the SOS is displayed in the workplace to say, “thanks for your military service.”
Photo: Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (Montana ESGR) State Chair Tim Fox shares ESGR’s mission with attendees at the Montana Council of Cooperatives (MCOC) at their annual meeting in Great Falls, Montana. ESGR works 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. Stepping into the picture for a quick snapshot with a newly signed ESGR Statement of Support is Montana Council of Cooperatives Administrator Tracy McIntyre, left and Heidi Borlaugh, MCOC President, right. The ESGR Statement of Support is a certificate signed to pledge support of the military service of their employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserve. After signing, the certificate is displayed in the workplace.