Pennsylvania ESGR remembers and honors 33-year volunteer and leader
HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania ESGR morns the loss of longtime volunteer Fred Fair who passed away January 12. Fair joined ESGR became a volunteer in 1988 and served 14 years as Military Outreach Director and Northwest Area Chair, 15 years as an Ombudsman and 17 years as state Vice Chair.
Most committee members fondly remember Fair as Vice Chair and his opening remarks at the annual All-Ranks conference: “Hello, my name is Fred Fair form Pennsylvania.” After his introduction he would reach into his jacket pocket, pull out a small note binder he called his “Blackberry” and commenced to tell everyone how important volunteer support was to Guard and Reserve members.
State Vice Chair and Northwest Area Chair Susan Robertson said she first met Fair at a Boss Lift event at Fort Indiantown Gap: “I remember him welcoming me with a big smile, a handshake, and the introduction of “Hi, I’m Fred Fair from Pennsylvania”. I didn’t know that was his famous introduction and that it would bring a smile to my face for many years…”. Robertson recalls talking with Fair recently about the importance of ESGR volunteers on their committee to provide USERRA briefings to Guard and Reserve units and how he was looking forward to participating in these events.
State Chair Emeritus Denise Enders recalls how Fair’s leadership and support during her tenure as State Chair (2011–2017) was instrumental in furthering the ESGR mission: “Fred served honorably as the Assistant State Chair during the entire time of my tenure. His dedication and commitment as a volunteer extended well beyond the duties of Vice Chair. He was revered as one of the most knowledgeable, talented, and experienced volunteers ever to serve the committee. He wore many hats and always rose to the challenge when asked to assist with events, briefings, and administrative tasks. His passion for helping service members and employers build healthy relationships was evident by all who witnessed his comical but meaningful words of wisdom… He had a way of making the subject matter come alive with humor and meaningful stories that spoke to the heart of our mission. He knew how to wake up a crowd and make everyone want to listen… his legacy will be remembered by everyone who had the pleasure to know him.”
Fairs accomplishments volunteering for ESGR are noteworthy and numerous:
State Chair Emeritus (2008–2011 and 2017–2020) and Southeast Area Chair Wes Craig nominated Fair for the Spirit of Volunteerism James M Roche Award. In nominating Fair for the award, Craig stated, “Fred is our senior member of the PA ESGR Committee and has helped to shape and lead it for over thirty years. He is fully dedicated to the ESGR mission and leads fellow volunteers to achieve excellence by personal example. He pioneered employer outreach lunches and Boss visits to local units in his area. He has touched scores of individual troops through his ombudsman role. He has been an articulate spokesman for ESGR all throughout western Pennsylvania in my absence. He is a wise mentor to new volunteers, many of whom he recruited to serve on our committee… He has been our northwest area chair for seventeen years, the Pennsylvania Vice Chair for eleven years, an active Ombudsman for fourteen years and our Military Outreach Chair for thirteen years, all at the same time! He is one of the busiest volunteers on the entire PA committee. He accumulated an astounding 361 volunteer hours for employer outreach, 218 hours for military outreach, 414 hours of training, and many hours as an ombudsman…”
Fair’s dedication to those who are America’s uniformed service members predates his membership on the Pennsylvania ESGR committee. He served in the U.S. Army and USAR for over thirty years, retiring as the Command Sgt. Maj. for the 99th ARCOM. He fully understood the challenges of being a Citizen Soldier and put his experiences to good use as he worked to support our service members on the Guard and Reserve. He served for many years as an Army Reserve Ambassador and used that platform to increase awareness of ESGR and our mission.
To say that Fair’s dedication to ESGR, our uniformed services, leadership, devotion to duty and country is a great loss is an understatement! He was an exceptional individual and friend to all who knew him; Rest in Peace good and faithful servant. .