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ESGR in the News


MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. –  Elisa Ryan-Manny, the Director of Competitive Activities at Visitation School, received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award May 31. Visitation is a private pre K-12 school that is coed through 5th grade, then all girls from 6-12th grades.

Ryan-Manny was nominated by Minnesota Army National Guard Sgt. Indira Valerio, whose duties at the school include Assistant Soccer Coach for the Middle School. ESGR-Minnesota Volunteer Christie Nixon presented the award.

SGT Valerio has served nine years in Minnesota Army National Guard as a Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, including a deployment to Kuwait. She responded on State Active Duty to the civil unrest in Minneapolis and also trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant as part of the Guard’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Valerio was hired by Ryan-Manny within two weeks after returning from her Kuwait deployment in 2019, and immediately departed for Basic Leaders Course to qualify for promotion. Given those calls to duty, Ryan-Manny and other leaders understood before and very early in Valerio’s employment the variety of timelines she would be given to complete military duty. Ryan-Manny also stated that she recognized that Valerio, because of her service, had qualities that others did not. Since that hire, the school has not hesitated to offer Valerio opportunities for more job responsibilities in multiple departments.

Indira said that Elisa recognized the struggles and difficulties of combining civilian service, military service, and caring for family, and went beyond “working with her” to “fully supporting” her and her family. She feels able to come to Ryan-Manny with any question or concern, whether work or personal, and knows Ryan-Manny will be honest and supportive as Valerio comes to decisions. She also recognized and appreciated Linzy Bannie, Athletics Department Assistant, as a particularly supportive and caring member of the Visitation staff.

Rene Gavic, the Head of School, signed a Statement of Support of the Guard and Reserve. She expressed interest in including woman military leaders in future career days and in their regular seminar schedule for students.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program which 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

Photo courtesy of Cecilia Petschel, Director of Communications and Marketing, Visitation School

Left to right: Christie Nixon (ESGR Volunteer), Rene Gavic (Head of School), SGT Indira Valerio, Alisa Ryan-Manny (Director of Competitive Activities)

Posted in: Minnesota
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