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ESGR in the News


LANSDALE, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that the Volunteer Service Medical Corps (VMSC) Chief was honored recently received a Patriot Awards in recognition of extraordinary support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to present employers with a Patriot Award for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces.

Chief Shane Wheeler was nominated for the Patriot Award by Spc. Alec Bermes, who is a medic with the United States Army Reserve’s 77th Sustainment Brigade stationed at Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst in New Jersey.

In nominating Wheeler, Bermes said, “The Chief and VMSC is extremely supportive of me and my military service. He even gives my wife, a medic with the company, time off to care for our young child when I am on orders.” Spc. Bermes continued: “Shane recognizes me and other service members as valuable assets in VMSC because of our military medical training skills and what they bring to the job. He is a former Army flight medic and recognizes these skills as a real plus. Shane trusts me and the other service members at this company and knows we will perform at the highest professional level.”

Wes Craig, Pennsylvania Chair Emeritus and Southeast Area Chair presented the Patriot Award to Chief Wheeler on behalf of ESGR. Fifty employees of the VMSC attended the award presentation ceremony.

Upon receiving the Patriot Award, Chief Wheeler told Craig that the Veterans Medical Service Corp was founded by Dr. Frank Boston. Boston was a World War I veteran who served in the U.S. Army’s Medical Reserve Corps; he was assigned to 317th Engineers Regiment of the 92nd Division.

Craig 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.” Craig added: “Today’s members of the Guard and Reserves are highly trained and skilled; they bring integrity, a global perspective and, proven leadership to the civilian workforce.”

In addition to presenting a Patriot Award, Craig obtained a Statement of Support from Wheler. The Statement of Support confirms 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.

“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units,” said Craig. “I am asking all Southeast 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 and offer 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.”

VMSC joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces. Craig added: “By signing the Statement of Support, VMSC 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

Photo (L–R): Spc. Bermes, Patriot Award recipient Chief Wheeler, and ESGR Area Chair Craig.

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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