Sen. Mike Padden, a staunch advocate of the nation’s military men and women and the organizations that support them, is helping to call attention to a rarely publicized federal agency: the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which promotes the service and integration of National Guard members and Reservists in the civilian workforce.
“During the 2012 regular legislative session we took some time to honor our state’s National Guard with Senate Resolution 8674,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “But supporting our troops means more than just signing my name to the resolution. I believe it means getting active and doing everything we can to make it easier for these brave men and women and their families to transition back into civilian life after they’ve completed their terms of service.”
Padden says his goal is to raise awareness of the unique sacrifices made by Washington National Guard members and Reservists, and one way to do that is by supporting the ESGR. Those in the National Guard and Reserve who get called to active duty leave behind both their families and civilian employers, and ESGR advocates supportive employment initiatives for the Guard and Reserve community.
“Our country’s reserve components comprise about 48 percent of our total available military manpower,” Padden added. “Because our reserve forces spend time away from the workplace defending the nation and training to maintain their mission readiness, it’s imperative that we get behind initiatives like these to show our support.”
ESGR was made part of the U.S. Department of Defense 40 years ago to protect the workplace rights of service members in the Guard and Reserve and provide resources to them. For the past 17 years, ESGR has annually recognized up to 15 American employers who have gone over and beyond what is required in their employment and support of National Guard members and Reservists, by honoring them with the Freedom Award, the U.S. government’s highest award given by the Secretary of Defense to an American employer. This year, 3,236 employers have been nominated nationwide for this award including 66 nominations made by Guard and Reserve members in Washington.