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ESGR in the News


CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. – The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Above and Beyond Award was presented to University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve by Minnesota ESGR State Committee Chair Chad Sackett April 26 at the Annual ESGR Planning Awards Meeting at Camp Ripley in recognition of this employer's outstanding support of its military employees’ service to the Minnesota National Guard and Reserves.

Receiving the award on behalf of the Science Reserve was Dr. Caitlin Potter PhD, Associate Director of the Science Reserve. Also assisting at the award ceremony was Lt. Col. Steve Hall, Deputy Commander Camp Ripley Military Facility.

This award is given in limited numbers by State Committees to employers who have had at least one of their supervisors/managers recognized with a Patriot Award and who have signed an ESGR Statement of Support. This award will be given to only 30 businesses this year, from hundreds of Patriot Award nominations received in Minnesota, that have honored their employees’ service in the United States military by providing assistance or benefits that go beyond the minimum required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).

Dr. Kara Baldwin PhD, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Science Reserve, spouse to a Minnesota National Guard’s citizen Soldier Officer, Major Alex Baldwin, nominated her employer University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel MN. Kara had this to say about her employer: "My supervisor was one of the key reasons I made it through my spouse's deployment. She provided a safe place for me to go and feel valued when it felt like everything was falling apart. She regularly checked in with me and was incredibly flexible with my work hours, taking over some of my teaching responsibilities when my son was sick. I started the position months prior to the deployment, and despite being so new to the organization, she provided me with grace and confidence knowing I was in the midst of a recent interstate move, learning the ropes connected to a new job, and solo parenting due to the deployment.”

Baldwin went on to say, “Some specific examples: She took me Christmas tree shopping and helped set up the tree with my two-year-old son, so I wouldn't have to do it alone. When I was in the hospital suddenly due to the stomach flu, she was ready to help care for my child until Grandma could take over (my mother lives two hours away). When I lost childcare for a few weeks, she was understanding and always ready to provide support through resources and schedule flexibility until I found both a temporary and permanent solution. When I needed to just take a break from it all, she understood and filled in for me so I could take a mini vacation during our busy season. I am incredibly grateful to Caitlin and her support, and I believe she deserves recognition for her support of me and my family during my spouse's deployment."

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 over 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: Lt. Cor. Steve Hall, Dr. Caitlin Potter PhD, Kara Baldwin PhD, Maj. Alex Baldwin (Ret.), and Chad Sackett ESGR.

(Photo courtesy of Larry Helsene ESGR)

Posted in: Minnesota
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