Three Companies Recognized with Prestigious Pro Patria Awards
Southwest Airlines, Eaton Corp. and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Honored
SPRINGFIELD, IL (01/31/2012)(readMedia)-- The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Illinois Committee honored Southwest Airlines, Eaton Corp. and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with Pro Patria awards during ESGR's annual banquet Friday at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.
Only three employers in Illinois are recognized with Pro Patria awards each year – one large, one small and one public sector. The award is presented to employers who demonstrate exceptional support for our national defense by adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.
Vishal Singh of Eaton Corp.'s Lincoln plant accepted the award in the small employer category. Illinois Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kyle Combs nominated Eaton Corp. The company pays their servicemember employees full salary while they are deployed and gives each deploying servicemember employee a new Dell laptop computer. The company also sends care packages to deployed employees and stays in contact and assists their families.
"I have deployed four times and Eaton has shown that it is a top-notch company," Combs said. Eaton won the Secretary of Defense's Freedom Award in 2005.
James Ball of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago District, accepted the Pro Patria award in the public sector category. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago conducts an annual Veterans Day Recognition Reception and personally greets returning employees at the airport after they return from military duty.
Employee and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Arthurine Jones praised Inspector in Charge Thomas Brady saying he recognizes military personnel assigned to the Chicago office with special awards. "He stayed in contact with me throughout the duration of my deployment (to Iraq) and kept me informed of city, office and organizational events."
Randy Deutchsendorf of Southwest Airlines accepted the award in the large employer category. Marine Lt. Col. Kyle Moore, who nominated Southwest, said his employer "has been phenomenal" in supporting his military service – including two deployments.
Southwest provides continued profit sharing and 401k matching funds during employees' military deployments and are flexible and supportive with health care benefits during transition periods, Moore said. Southwest won the Secretary of Defense's Freedom Award in 2001.
In addition to the Pro Patria Awards, 23 companies were honored this year with Above and Beyond Awards for supporting military employees. These companies are:
• Arends Brothers Inc.
• B & D Home Services Inc.
• Bloomington School District #87
• BNSF Railway Co.
• City of Rolling Meadows
• Crestwood Tower Services Inc.
• DRW Trading Group
• Edgewood Chemical & Biological Center
• Evergreen Park Police Department
• Hassett Air Express Inc.
• Illinois Department of Employment Security
• Illinois Farm Bureau
• JAK Graphic Design
• Joliet Junior College Police Department
• Lake in the Hills Police Department
• Madison County Sheriff's Department
• Pipe Fitter's Training Center
• Pool Watch Inc.
• Prairie Grove School District #46
• Redding Industries
• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Children and Families
The keynote speaker at the ESGR Banquet was Army Reserve Brig. Gen. James Young Jr., the Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve and the Director of the Army Reserve's Human Capital Core Enterprise. Other honored guests included Executive Director of ESGR Maj. Gen. (ret.) Ronald Young and Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency. Its mission is to gain and maintain the support of employers for service in the Reserve Components by increasing awareness of the law, recognizing outstanding support and helping to resolve conflicts through informal mediation. Nearly 5,000 ESGR volunteers nationwide provide free education, consultation and, if needed, neutral mediation for employers of Guardsmen and Reservists.
For more information ESGR please contact Lt. Col. Tim Franklin (see contact information above).
Photo 1) Chair of the Illinois ESGR Field Committee Dr. Michael Ayers (center left) presents Southwest Airlines' Randy Deutchsendorf with the Pro Patria Award for Southwest Airlines' support of its employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserves. To the left of Ayers' is Marine Reserve Lt. Col. Kyle Moore, who nominated Southwest. To the right is Army Reserve Brig. Gen. James Young Jr., the Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve and the Director of the Army Reserve's Human Capital Core Enterprise.
photo 2) Chair of the Illinois ESGR Field Committee Dr. Michael Ayers (center) presents James Ball of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago District, with the Pro Patria Award. To the right is Army Reserve Lt. Col. Paul Hettich, one of six employees of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to nominate the agency for an ESGR award.
photo 3) Chair of the Illinois ESGR Field Committee Dr. Michael Ayers (center) presents Eaton Corporation's Vishal Singh with a Pro Patria Award for Eaton's support of its employees' military service. To the left is Illinois Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kyle Combs, who nominated Eaton for the award. Combs has worked for Eaton for eight years.