DeCA shows support for Guard, Reserve
Supporting the Guard and Reserve is a no-brainer for the Defense Commissary Agency, said its interim director and CEO.
To reinforce that notion, retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi signed a formal statement of support in a meeting with Virginia committee representatives of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) May 8 at DeCA’s Fort Lee, Virginia, headquarters.
“Civilian employees who are also in the Guard or Reserve are part of that honored 1 percent of our nation who’ve raised their hand to serve in uniform,” said Bianchi before he signed the pledge document. “I’m proud to formally recognize our support of these valued members of our workforce.
“Everyone benefits from their service,” he added. “Guardsmen and reservists tend to bring a global perspective back to their work place.”
As of March 31, there are 332 DeCA employees, or 2.5 percent of the agency’s workforce, in the Guard or Reserve.
Each month, an average of more than 35,000 guardsmen and military reservists are serving on federal and state active duty across the United States and its territories. It’s important that they know their civilian employers support them and their families while they are away, said Thomas M. Stephen Jr., employer outreach coordinator for the Virginia committee of ESGR.
“By Rear Adm. Bianchi signing the ESGR Statement of Support, DeCA clearly demonstrates to its employees that it has their back,” Stephen said. “It further demonstrates that DeCA will hold the service members’ civilian job and promptly reinstate them upon completion of their military duties as if they had never left their civilian job.”
Reaching out to employers about the merits of supporting their employees who are also guardsmen and reservists is the foundation of ESGR’s statement of support program. Employers are vital in maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units, Stephen said.
“Without the support of employers like DeCA, who go above and beyond military leave laws, our national defense would be severely impaired,” Stephen said.
The ESGR was established by the Department of Defense in 1972 to foster cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers, while also helping employees resolve conflicts arising from their military commitment.
More than 3,750 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands support the ESGR.
“To maintain a strong, viable national defense, this nation must rely heavily on the men and women who serve in the National Guard and military reserve components,” Stephen said. “These citizen soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen continue to answer the nation’s call to duty to fight and win our global military conflicts and to support the relief efforts of natural disasters both here and abroad.”
For more information about ESGR, visit their website at https://www.esgr.mil/.