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ESGR in the News


ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) recently received a Patriot Award 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.

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

LANTA Bus Administrative Services Manager Ann Marie Gonchaso was nominated for the Patriot Award by Capt. Sean Hastings of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 357th Chemical Company, based in Blackwood, New Jersey.

In nominating Gonchaso, Hastings stated: “Ann Marie deserves the award as she supports my duties as a servicemember. She works with me as I adjust my day-to-day schedule to work around my military service. She also covers down for when I miss a day or two for Battle Assembly and when serving extended time off for training.”

Presenting the award on behalf of ESGR was Roslyn Schroeder, a Pennsylvania Employer Outreach Representative. Schroeder 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.” Schroeder 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.

Schroeder noted that 14 people were present for the Patriot Award presentation ceremony and stated: “Everyone is supportive of Ann Marie and Capt. Hastings. Capt. Hastings is supported by the entire office while he is serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. The entire group of co-workers work together to distribute his workload while he is serving on active duty.”

LANTA Senior Director of Administration Jason Polster–Abel, participated in the Patriot Award presentation said it is no surprise that Gonchaso goes above and beyond for people.

Polster–Abel signed an ESGR Statement of Support confirming that LANTA 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 crisis and in war.

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

LANTA joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces. Schroeder added: “By signing the Statement of Support, LANTA 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 1: LANTA Senior Director of Administration Polster–Abel attended the Patriot Award presentation to Gonchaso.

Photo 2: LANTA Senior Director of Administration Polster–Abel signing a Statement of Support.

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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