HATBORO, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program, announced that Willow Grove YMCA recently received a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
Willow Grove’s YMCA Executive Director Bill Seedes was nominated for the Patriot Award by Senior Airman Kelly Leibolt of the 166th Force Support Squadron, Delaware Air National Guard stationed in New Castle, Del. Leibolt stated that “Bill makes a special effort to support citizen warriors like myself through measures that include being highly supportive of my National Guard service even when I was called in on short notice. He also mentored part-time staff, providing them with leadership opportunities to fill in for me when I was away.”
James Wong, Pennsylvania Southeast Area ESGR volunteer, presented the Patriot Award to Seedes. In presenting the award, Wong commented: “It’s critical and an honor to recognize and pay tribute to those employers that hire and support our Guard and Reserve forces. It would be difficult for those in the uniformed services to perform their mission without employer support.” Wong added: “Today’s members of the Guard and Reserves are highly trained and skilled; they bring integrity, a global perspective and, proven leadership to the civilian workforce.”
In addition to presenting a Patriot Award, Wong obtained a Statement of Support from the Willow Grove YMCA. The Statement of Support confirms that Willow Grove YMCA joins other employers in pledging:
“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units,” said Wong. “I am asking all Southeastern Area Pennsylvania employers to take a look at their current human resources policies to incorporate policies supportive of Guard and Reserve employees.” Many Pennsylvania employers provide support above and beyond their legal requirements by law by offering pay-differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits, which complement coverage provided by the military, when their employees mobilize.”
Willow Grove YMCA joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces. Wong added: “By signing the Statement of Support, the Willow Grove YMCA is sending a clear message to its employees that while they are serving their country, they do not have to worry about their civilian jobs.”
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.