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ESGR in the News


WILLISTON, N.D. – David Peterson, Williston Police Chief and Steven Gutknecht, Detective Division, received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for the extraordinary support they provide employee Williston Police Department Detective, Spc. Momcilo Babic.  

A ceremony was held Wednesday, July 21 at the City Hall with individuals representing ESGR, including ESGR State Chair Delton Steele, joining remotely via zoom.  Brad Bekkedahl who serves on the City of Williston Board of City Commissioners was present for the ceremony, showing his support for chief Peterson and Captain Gutknecht.

“The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees who have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said ESGR State Chair Delton Steele.  “Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

“As soldiers, we are always taught to lead by example,” said Babic.  “The example set by Chief Peterson is that no matter the sacrifice required, no matter the difficulty ahead, his full and unconditional support will be given to those who serve in the U.S. Military.

“During the last year, there were multipole activations of the 816th MP Company and Captain Gutknecht always extended his full support,” explained Babic.  “He ensured that our families were checked on and personally checked in with us after every deployment to confirm that we were ok physically, psychologically, and financially.”  “Captain Gutknecht is a shining example of a true supporter of the U.S. Military, as both a citizen as well as an employer,” added Babic.

The Williston Police Department joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of American’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces, added State Chair, Steele.  “By signing the Statement of Support, The Williston Police Department 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.” 

“These awards reflect the level of respect the Williston Police Department has for its employees,” said Police, Fire, and Ambulance Commissioner, Tate Cymbaluk. “The police administration recognizes the importance of what these employees are doing; they serve not only our community but our country and are protecting the very freedom we have today. It is clear that Specialist Babic appreciates this support in his decision to nominate both Chief Peterson and Captain Gutknecht.”

ESGR is a Department of Defense program 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.

For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (701) 333-2057 or visit

Posted in: North Dakota
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