SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- For his unwavering support of Guard and Reserve employees, Maj. Todd Jackson, clinical nurse officer-in-charge at Schofield Barracks Health Clinic's Acute Care Clinic, earned the Patriot Award, Feb. 8.

Surrounded by his supervisors, coworkers and employees, Jackson was presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve award by P. Pasha Baker, U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador.

Designed to recognize employers who support a National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, recipients of the Patriot Award are nominated by employees. Employers winning the award demonstrate support for service in the National Guard and Reserve, publicly acknowledges the contributions of Reserve component employees to the nation's defense, and support Guard and Reserve employees above and beyond the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requirements.

"We talk about Soldiers and families sacrificing, but when it comes to members of the Guard and Reserve, bosses also sacrifice," said Howard Sugai, military outreach coordinator, Hawaii ESGR. "When (an employee) has to leave his or her job for military duties, whether it's for a deployment or training, someone else has to pick up his or her load.

"That sacrifice among you folks and your organization; we're here to tell you it has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated," Sugai continued.

Jackson says supporting Reserve component employees is made easier with his staff. Everyone at the clinic works together to plan their personal leave around others' military training and cover down for any employees who are out of the office for an extended period of time.

"(Receiving this award) is a huge honor. It's humbling to be recognized by your staff," Jackson said. "My philosophy has always been you take care of your staff and your staff will take care of the mission, and everything else will fall into place."

Jackson's philosophy is working, and his employees have taken notice.

"I feel that as a Soldier, he's always been there for us," said Nicole Moorecherry, Jackson's employee who nominated him for the award. "Every time I have to leave as a Reservist, I'm never given an issue about it. I'm asked what days I need, and the schedule is adjusted. They just watch over my position until I get back."

Moorecherry, an emergency care technician in the Acute Care Clinic, spends one weekend a month and at least two weeks a year as a medic with the 1984th U.S. Army Reserve Hospital Detachment 2.

"The military training and reserve training is the first thing we (put on the schedule). That's priority. It's their job," Jackson said. "It's their way to help serve the nation. They're double hit as citizen Soldiers. Here, these guys are working for the government as civilians already and then they're also Soldiers."

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense organization within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

Established in 1972, ESGR promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers, and assists in resolving any conflicts that arise from an employee's military commitment. ESGR operates through a network of thousands of volunteers throughout the nation and American territories to include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands.

Reserve components (the total of all National Guard members and Reserve forces from all branches of the military) make up approximately 48 percent of the nation's military manpower. In the current operating environment, civilian employers play a critical role in the defense of the nation by complying with the employment laws that protect the rights of employees who serve in the Reserve component.

Page last updated Wed February 22nd, 2012 at 16:34