U.S. Virgin Islands Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, increased the number of businesses publicly supporting service members of the Guard and Reserve during the Dale Earnhardt Jr. high school visit on Dec. 17 at the St. Croix Educational Complex.
At the event, Michael Huebner of MPH Automotive, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rickenbach of Junior Dragster of the Virgin Islands, Lloyd Daniel of Dan’s Trucking, and Lindsey Graci of Pinnacle Services and Brandon Transfer each signed a Statement of Support (SOS) for the Guard and Reserve. The four local employers represent five companies on St. Croix and are new ESGR supporters.
ESGR Virgin Islands Chairman Beresford Edwards and Verna Walcott, employment transition coordinator, attended the V.I. National Guard (VING)-sponsored event along with current SOS business representatives who were invited to attend. ESGR SOS businesses attending the visit were Michael Straker of Straker Motors, Henry Schuster of Echo Valley Imports, Michael Graci of H & H Tires, David Ahern of National Auto Parts and Dave Condon of NAPA Auto Parts. The school visit gave selected students and guests an opportunity to ask questions, receive a goodie bag, a picture and one autographed item by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
By signing the SOS, the five local businesses join other employers in pledging:
• We fully recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
• Our managers and supervisors will have the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
• We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce, and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen,
Reservists and Veterans.
• We will continually recognize and support our country’s service members and their families in peace, in crises and in war.
“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units. I am asking all U.S. Virgin Islands employers to take a look at their current human resources policies to incorporate policies supportive of Guard and Reserve employees,” said Edwards, USVI ESGR state chair. “Many employers provide ‘Above and Beyond’ support with pay differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits, which complement coverage provided by the military, when their employees are mobilized.”
When asked about the criteria, Edwards said, “By meeting the Statement of Support criteria, these businesses pledge to stand proudly with its Guard and Reserve employees, who continue to answer their nation’s call to defend our way of life. Their personal sacrifices are essential to the strength of our nation.”
“The five businesses join a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces,” he said.
ESGR, a Department of Defense office, 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 the DoD.
For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil; locally, call ESGR Chairman Beresford Edwards at 772-0437 or 277-9396; or call local ESGR Public Affairs Shereen Grouby at 332-2768.
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