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ESGR in the News


WHITEFISH, Mont. – Tucked into the northwest corner of Montana, and located at the northern most tip of the Flathead Valley is Whitefish. The scenic mountain resort town is nestled below the base of Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain. The town is named for the native fish harvested from the shores of the local Whitefish Lake for centuries.

Don K Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is a new and pre-owned car dealer providing auto service and auto body repair shop serving the greater Flathead area in Whitefish Montana. Kevin Kaltschmidt the General Manager of Don “K” was recently awarded a Department of Defense Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of his employee who is a member of the Montana Air National Guard, Senior Airman James Abbott. Abbott nominated his employer for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) award presented by Montana ESGR Volunteer Heather Merritt.

The Patriot Award was established by ESGR to publicly recognize civilian employers who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their civilian employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve. Without supportive employers, the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units cannot be maintained.

Abbott’s nomination reads, “Throughout the time I have worked here they have given me additional time off to attend all Guard functions. In addition, when my vehicle was in the shop they provided me with a loaner car to ensure that I was able to make it. Also on bad weather days, they let me leave several hours early to ensure that I make it in a timely manner and safely. For the Five years I have worked here, they have been great throughout. They show tons of respect for the uniform and it is a culture that supports my continuing service. There are multiple Guard members that work here and it is consistent throughout for all members.”

After receiving the award, Merritt commented, “Kevin was super happy; he couldn’t stop smiling and just kept saying over and over how awesome this was.”

Congratulations Kevin Kaltschmidt for being a supportive civilian employer of our Montana National Guard and Reserve members. You provide a valuable service to our country by hiring Montana Airmen and Service members.

ESGR is celebrating 50 years of supporting workplaces that value employing National Guard and Reserve members. ESGR has worked to promote employer awareness of the Federal Uniformed Service Employment Reemployment Rights Act or USERRA. The federal statute protects service members' employment rights. ESGR 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, call (800) 336-4590 or visit

Photo from left to right: Montana Air National Guard Senior Airman James Abbott, Kevin Kaltschmidt and Don Kaltschmidt of Don K Chevrolet take a minute to pose for a photo after the presentation of an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award presented at the Whitefish car dealership.

Posted in: Montana
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