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Nevada Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Agency holds down the home front for deployed guardsmen and reservists.
While most Americans are aware of the sacrifices made by the full-time soldiers in the United States Armed Forces, fewer, perhaps, are familiar with the efforts of today’s “citizen warriors,” the members of the National Guard and Reserve. Nearly half of our nation’s total military is comprised of guard and reserve forces. Unlike full-time soldiers, most guardsmen and reservists have full-time civilian jobs outside of their duties as soldiers. This poses a potential problem when those volunteer soldiers have training obligations, are needed for disaster relief, or are deployed to combat—deployment of guard and reserve units has become commonplace since 9/11.
That is where Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve steps in. To ease the strain on employers of guardsmen and reservists when duty calls, the ESGR acts as a liaison in educating and supporting employers and recognize employers who go above and beyond to support their guard and reserve employees.
The ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Guard and Reserve members and their civilian employers and assist resolving in conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
The Nevada branch is comprised of three full-time employees and 60 volunteers. Executive Director for the Nevada Committee for ESGR, John Runner, says employers in Nevada are especially supportive of the National Guard and Reserve. “They not only pick up the slack when [their employees] are deployed, many provide extended benefits,” he says. MGM Mirage Corporation sets a high bar by giving their employees full pay and benefits while they are deployed. The company is one of four Nevada employers—there have only been 15 nationally—to receive the Freedom Award for their exceptional support of the guard and reserve. Legacy Sports in Reno, NV Energy, and the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority in Reno have also been recognized with Freedom Awards.
Each year in June, the Nevada ESGR recognizes employers around the state for their cooperation with and support of Nevada’s guardsmen and reservists. Last year, 32 employers were recognized at the annual event for their outstanding support. The event included a flight to Naval Air Station Fallon in two Boeing CH-47 Chinook Helicopters and an executive tour of the facility. This year’s event, set for June 24 at Creech Air Force Base north of Las Vegas, will honor more than twice as many employers as in 2009. A highlight of the 2010 event will be an inside look at Creech’s unmanned aircraft programs.