Employers honored for support to Guard and Reserves in NE Florida

Written by  //  November 1, 2013  //  Feature Stories

Admiral (ret.) Victor Guillory, Director of Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department (left); Clarence Gooden, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer of CSX Corporation; Cpl. Jonathan D. Bautista, USAR 351st Military Police (nominator); Ms. Jesse Zovath, store manager, Wal-Mart (Patriot Awardee); Maj. Gen. James Tyre; Lt. Col. (ret.) Bill Begeron, Co-Chair of CSX Military Affinity Group. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2013) – Local businesses who support their employees in the National Guard and Reserves were honored recently during the CSX Annual Patriot Award Breakfast in Northeast Florida.

The northeast Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee held the event at CSX Corporation in Jacksonville, Oct. 25, as a chance to honor those employers who have provided “exceptional support of their Guard and Reservist employees.”

Keynote speaker at the breakfast, Florida National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General – Army Maj. Gen. James Tyre, explained the event was a chance “to show our appreciation for the outstanding employers” of Florida who support the reserve components.

 “The ESGR team and employers have unquestionably provided support for our Soldiers, Airmen and the families of the Florida National Guard,” Tyre explained.

He said that reservists are relied upon heavily for national security, and employer support enhances the readiness and retention rates at the units.

“You have literally been a game-changer in the lives of our Soldiers and our Airmen,” Tyre told the nearly 100 people in attendance. “Our National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are unique among other members of the Armed Forces; they are dedicated to being citizens in the communities in which they live and they are dedicated to being Guardsmen. They are willing to go out and face the rigors of combat and upon returning home they face the same challenges that each and every one of us do here in civilian lives.”

During the breakfast Tyre and the ESGR team presented eight Patriot Awards to Northeast Florida employers including: North Florida Sales; CSX Corporation; Loomis Branch 3355; Deustche Bank; Wal-Mart; and the University of North Florida.

Any employee serving in the National Guard or another reserve component, or the spouse of a Guard or reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for supporting them through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

ESGR Seven Seals Awards – to honor significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission – were also presented to CSX Corporation and Maj. Gen. Tyre. Additionally, ESGR presented an Outstanding Performance Award to Steve Toomey, an Above and Beyond Award to Eric Nguyen, and certificates of appreciation to Admiral (Ret.) Victor Guillory, Ken Johnson and Clarence Gooden during the event.