The recent devastating flood events in northern Colorado and the recovery actions that are underway have brought to the public’s attention the important role of the Colorado National Guard in responding to natural disasters. After the floods that hit the Front Range and foothills starting on September 11, the Colorado National Guard provided security, traffic control, and air and ground search and rescue operations. These citizen-soldiers come from all walks of life, and stand ready to respond to state emergencies when mobilized by the governor of Colorado. When these young men and women are called to serve, employers in government, industy and the nonprofit sector must recognize the essential role these service members have, and be supportive of their call to duty.
Two Veterans Green Jobs employees, Evan Alvarez and Aaron Argo, both weatherization technicians, are Colorado National Guard members who were called to duty for a two-week period to respond to the floods. Evan, an Army medic, and Aaron, a military policeman, performed important roles, including provision of emergency medical supplies, water and food, and traffic control points at inaccessible roads and highways in Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties.
Through a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, Veterans Green Jobs is an employer that values the service of its military members and veterans, and the skills they bring to the workforce. Veterans Green Jobs pledges to recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment And Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) that protects the jobs of Guard and Reserve members when they are called to duty. Chief Executive Officer Bill Doe, a career Army veteran, says, “We are a team of employees, both veterans and civilians, that work together to accomplish the mission of providing important services to our communities and the environment through energy efficiency and weatherization. When our guardsmen are called to duty, everyone has to pick up the slack and keep our operations going full tilt until they return. Everybody contributes in one way or another.”
The Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recently applauded employers and their employees for providing support to those guardsmen in their organization who were called to respond to the floods.
LtCol (Ret, USMC) David Pruett, the Colorado ESGR’s co-director for employer outreach, said, “We at Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve are thankful for these citizen-soldiers who serve us all, and at the same time, remain mindful of the ongoing contributions being made by the employers of these brave and dedicated responders.”
ESGR Committee Chairman, Rear Admiral Dick Young, USN (Ret), often points out that, “Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the readiness and strength of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units and allow guardsmen and reservists the opportunity to serve our country more effectively and with greater peace of mind.” We are seeing this in practice once again.
The ESGR also forwarded a letter of thanks from Major General H Michael Edwards, COANG, the adjutant general of the State of Colorado.
Additionally, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring September 22–28, 2013 as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. The week recognizes the important contributions employers have made in supporting the military service of their National Guard and Reserve employees.
“The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve demonstrate an unfaltering commitment to our union and our people. On the field of battle and here at home, they place themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms, our lives, and our communities,” proclaimed President Obama.
Emphasizing the critical support employers provide, the president stated, “Alongside our reservists and National Guard members, the employers who put them to work provide extraordinary support and flexibility. Our nation is forever grateful to businesses that help service members advance their civilian careers, and ease transitions between military and civilian life.
For more information on the Colorado ESGR, visit the ESGR website.