Northeast Florida employers recognized for support of National Guard, Reserve employees

Written by  //  January 20, 2012  //  Feature Stories, News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2012) — The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve honored several local Northeast Florida employers for their support to their National Guard and Reserve employees during their annual Jacksonville ESGR awards luncheon, Jan. 20, 2012 at the University of North Florida.

Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida, speaks to employers and military members during the Northeast Florida Annual Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Luncheon in Jacksonville, Jan. 20, 2012.

“Now, more than ever, the support from our employers is critical,” said Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida. “We are grateful for these patriotic employers who recognize the sacrifices of our citizen-warriors and their families and go above and beyond to ensure that our service members maintain employment.”

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve develops and promotes employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and resolving conflict between employers and service members.

Among those honored Friday was CSX Transportation, a Jacksonville-based corporation and recipient of the 2011 Florida Pro-Patria Award and National Freedom Award.

“At CSX, we go to great lengths to hire veterans because military men and women make great employees,” said Steve Toomey, manager of military and diversity recruiting for CSX. “They are disciplined; committed to the mission; have high ethical standards; pay attention to details; we know they’re going to get the job done right every time and above all, they work safely.”

Many employers go above and beyond what is required by law to support Guardsmen and Reservists and their families while they are deployed by providing benefits, matching pay and supporting family members at home. Often, the loss of a Guard or Reserve member during a deployment comes at a high price for the employer.

“They provide a nurturing environment for families and sponsor events to enhance their well-being,” said Titshaw. “While our Reservists and Guardsmen are protecting our freedom far from home, our business leaders are sacrificing to preserve their jobs and enable greater stability when our men and women return.”

In addition to the intangible skills veterans and military members bring to a job, they also come with the added value of military-trained skills, veterans’ health and education benefits and security clearances that can help offset some of an employer’s costs.

“It’s a two-way commitment and in the end, everyone benefits, especially our nation,” said Titshaw.

The employers in attendance at the luncheon also signed “statements of support,” reaffirming their support for Guard and Reserve employees.

“When we talk about duty, honor and country…we hold those ideals sacred to our heart and indeed, I can think of nothing more fitting than ceremonies like this today where each and every one of us stand up and proudly re-affirm that daily support to these outstanding veterans,” said Judge Gregory P. Holder, chairman of the Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Employers seeking to hire veterans and Reserve or National Guard members can contact ESGR volunteer representatives at or Penny Justice, the Florida Guard Family Career Connections program manager at 904-823-0335.