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ESGR in the News


PROSPERITY, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine staff members recently received 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.

Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine Assistant Supervisor Shift Supervisor Brian Brady, Human Resources Supervisor Melissa Carson, and Assistant Supervisor Mike Koffler were presented with a Patriot Award. Also receiving Patriot Awards but not available for the presentation were Tina Hilk and Josh Koontz. All were nominated for the Patriot Award by Sgt. Michael Kuzma who is a member of the West Virginia’s 249th Army Ban stationed in Morgantown.

In nominating the Mine Supervisors, Kuzma stated: “My supervisors have allowed me to serve my country and state for the last 10 years, including in between regular drills, annual training, deployments overseas, and other support missions throughout the country. They are very supportive and allow me to take time off to take care of whatever I need to do for West Virginia National Guard.”

Kuzma also mentioned the outstanding support the HR staff provides in helping him advance his professional career; he said: “Civilian career-wise they’ve allowed me to be a better asset to the company by becoming part of the fire brigade, Emergency Management Response certified, and obtaining my Assistant Mine Foreman Papers in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Presenting the award on behalf of ESGR was Gordon McKay, Pennsylvania Southwest Area Awards Lead. McKay 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.” McKay 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 the Patriot Awards, McKay obtained a Statement of Support. 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 McKay. “I am asking all Southwest 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 by offering 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.”

Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces. McKay added: “By signing the Statement of Support, Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine 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, a 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): Sgt. Kuzma, Patriot Award recipients Brady, Carson, Koffler, and ESGR Southwest Area Awards Lead McKay

Photos courtesy of Jessica Schulenberg, Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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