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ESGR in the News


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 17, 2024) –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve proudly announces the 2023 Volunteers of the Year (VOTY). Volunteers who serve in following functional and operational areas were nominated by their respective State Committee for the prestigious honor of being named Volunteer of the Year: Military Outreach, Employer Outreach, Public Affairs, Training, Ombudsman, and Operations.

The Functional and Operational Area VOTY Award is a national level ESGR award established to recognize those volunteers who have made significant contributions in ESGR’s primary functional and operational areas during the previous fiscal year.

This year’s recipients are:

Employer Outreach – Teresa James, Arkansas

Military Outreach – Michael Donnellan, California

Public Affairs – Robert Adams, Minnesota

Ombudsman – Elizabeth Jackson, Ohio

Training – Kathy Dial, Texas

Operations – Roger Trout, Florida

These outstanding, patriotic individuals have collectively delivered more than 2,117 hours of service to ESGR over the past year. That's the equivalent of just over one year of labor! Based on the current value of a “volunteer hour” that's a return-on-investment worth approximately $68,000.

About ESGR

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 develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers. To learn more about ESGR visit

Volunteers of the Year Citations


Theresa James, Arkansas 

Theresa James became a volunteer just over a year ago; however, she quickly became one of the most valuable members of the Arkansas ESGR team. This past March, she took on one of our most demanding roles to become the Employer Outreach (EO) Director and has done a fantastic job in managing and leading our EO efforts. Just this past June during our state annual meeting, she led our team to set high EO goals for FY24 and was presented our "Rookie of the Award." She conducts virtual meetings with our Outreach Coordinators to review goals to ensure we stay on track. In addition, she attended the state municipal league conference where she briefed over 300 employers. She conducted three military unit briefings with 291 personnel and briefed 172 Service Members at Pre/Post Yellow Ribbon events. She has also attended two virtual sustainment trainings conducted by Headquarters ESGR. Theresa contributed 238 volunteer hours.


Michael Donnellan, California

Michael Donnellan's military outreach contributions are extensive. He coordinated U.S. Air Force Reserve (USAFR) annual briefs at Travis, Beal, and Edwards Air Force Bases. Providing ESGR info to the 349th Air Mobility Wing Command newsletter, the largest USAFR wing. Their Newsletter reached 2,700 of their assigned personnel with ESGR info and links. Conducted ESGR briefings at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Training Center Petaluma. He conducted two sessions engaging 300 USCG Chiefs. He conducted ESGR Pre-deployment briefing for all Army Guard members called to duty at Camp Roberts, California. This program processes more than 2,500 Army Guard Reservist during SRPs (Solider Readiness Processing). Served as Assistant Director of U.S. Marine Reserve Units, providing ESGR services to six Marine Reserve Centers in Northern California. His annual visits have engaged over 1,400 Marine reservists and assisted in the development of virtual Deployment Readiness Training for REDCOMs San Diego and REDCOM Ft. Worth. These virtual briefings engage 2,700 Sailors annually. Michael contributed 561 volunteer hours.


Elizabeth Jackson, Ohio

In FY 2023, Elizabeth Jackson was the epitome of a Volunteer of the Year. As the Ombudsman Director, she supervised two Ombudsman in working 65 cases including the 43 she was assigned. During FY 23, Ms. Jackson accumulated and astounding 336.5 volunteer hours. She traveled approximately 3,500 miles around the state to teach and train units and organizations their respective responsibilities under USERRA, recognize employers nominated for awards by their service member employees, and acted as a good will ambassador for the Ohio ESGR Committee. In addition to flawlessly executing her team's Ombudsman cases and inquiries, she also: Personally presented 43 Patriot Awards all over the state of Ohio especially in areas with no active volunteers; presented eight briefings to military units and organizations including Ohio Department of Correction & Rehabilitation and Knox County; participated in Family Day with 178th Fighter Wing; participated in 21 Employer Outreach events; Developed document for service members to use to when working with their Human Resource department regarding USERRA provisions, this document was adopted by all Central Region Ombudsman Directors.


Roger Trout, Florida

Roger Trout continues unparalleled service to Florida ESGR. As Regional Vice Chair, he oversees six Area Chairs and over 30 volunteers. He has passion for training and serves as the assistant training director. His relationship with the local Army recruiting battalion provides ESGR access and visibility to leadership, helping to keep ESGR on their radar. He is the consummate ESGR recruiter and mentor and has recruited eight new volunteers. To keep volunteers informed he provides weekly updates from Department of Defense and news outlets. Roger spearheaded the Central Region training for 20 volunteers, coordinating the curriculum, guest speakers, and logistics. Through his direct efforts the Florida ESGR committee has a strong relationship with the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and local SHRM chapters. Roger is a skilled Ombudsman and serves as an Ombudsman mentor. Roger has contributed 668 volunteer hours.


Robert Adams, Minnesota

Robert Adams has been a volunteer with Minnesota ESGR for over 14 years. During his time as the Assistant PA Director, Bob has coached the Minnesota Committee on how to effectively write, format, and submit 74 articles. He would then verify the final product on the ESGR website and send out an announcement to the rest of the committee. He eagerly works with the Headquarters ESGR public affairs staff to fine tune any postings to make sure the service member, awardee and the Minnesota committee is showcased in the public eyes. His 227 recorded volunteer hours does fully reflect his dedication to our organization. The 74 postings to ESGR website and photos submitted are 100% a result of Bob's efforts. He also took additional time to present six Patriot Awards and conducted two unit briefings. Bob was recognized by the past state chair for outstanding volunteerism and for commitment to Minnesota. Bob is a strong and dedicated volunteer.


Kathy Dial, Texas

Kathy has been an integral part of our Texas training team. As an ombudsman (OMB) and OMB Assistant Director, her forte has been training volunteers on USERRA and training state OMBs in the “art of USERRA mediation.” At our Texas All-Volunteer Meeting in FY2023, she trained 60 volunteers using scenario based USERRA case studies she created herself. Additionally, her case studies were used extensively by Headquarters ESGR for the ESGR Virtual Ombudsman Sustainment Training (VOST) program. In fact, Kathy hosted three of these national VOST training sessions herself. Between 50 to 150 OMBs nationwide participated in each of these sessions. Kathy has contributed 86 volunteer hours.




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