OCALA, Fla. – At 9 a.m. Tuesday, BMW of Ocala Service Manager Tony Latta was called into the conference room to be presented with the Department of Defense Patriot Award in recognition of his extraordinary support to his employee U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul O’Donnell.
In a virtual ceremony presided by Tim Lambert, Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve state vice-chair, Latta was honored with the award.
The soon to be deployed O'Donnell managed to quickly change into his uniform so he could present the award to his boss.
“The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered the Nation’s call to serve,” said Lambert.
O’Donnell expressed in the nomination, “Tony Latta and the Team here at BMW of Ocala have given me unwavering flexibility and understanding of my Coast Guard Reserve duties and obligations. They have allowed for a seamless transition coming on and off military orders throughout the year. Each time I’ve returned from Active Duty for Training they have supported me in seamless transition from Coast Guard service back into the civilian sector. BMW of Ocala holds the same core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty as the U.S. Coast Guard has instilled in me.”
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, 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. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit www.esgr.mil/fl.
PHOTO: U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul O'Donnell, and BMW of Ocala Service Manager Tony Latta.