MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. – Julia Dale, Coordinator of Extended Day and Summer Programs for Visitation School, received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award on June 23.
The presentation occurred during a summer camp talent show which was attended by dozens of children and camp staff. Visitation is a private pre K-12 school that is coed through 5th grade, then all girls from 6-12th grades. Dale was nominated by Minnesota Army National Guard Sgt. Indira Valerio, whose duties at the school include working with the after school and summer camp staff. ESGR-MN Volunteer Christie Nixon presented the award.
Valerio has served nine years in Minnesota Army National Guard as a Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. Her military service has included a deployment to Kuwait and she responded on State Active Duty to civil unrest in Minneapolis. She also trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant as part of the Guard’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Valerio was hired by Visitation within two weeks after returning from her Kuwait deployment in 2019, and the school has continuously expanded her duties even as she has had to respond to frequent calls to State Active Duty. Julia and others at the school recognize that these calls to duty will not occur on a regular or predictable schedule, and their support of Valerio is not only unwavering but extraordinary.
Trusting someone with your family and children is a level not often reached, and Valerio expressed that she has absolute trust in Julia’s care of hers. Indira’s daughter, Jenalia, attends the after school and summer programs and participated in the award ceremony. She gave flowers to Dale’s assistant and Extended Day and Summer Solutions staffer, Kayla Christy, in appreciation of not only the care packages she put together, but also for Kayla's care for her.
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 www.ESGR.mil.
Photo courtesy of Michael Russomanno, Summer Camp Counselor, Visitation School
Left to right: Jenalia Valerio, Sgt. Indira Valerio, Julia Dale (Coordinator of Extended Day and Summer Programs), Christie Nixon (ESGR Volunteer)