Pictured: VT Governor Phil Scott; Lt. Col. Eric Gagnon; Professor of Medicine Charles Irvin; and Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Adjutant General of Vermont (ESGR photo)
The University of Vermont and Polly Parsons, M.D., professor and chair of medicine at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, were recognized with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award, the Above and Beyond Award, and the Pro Patria Award, respectively, at an annual ESGR awards ceremony held May 23, 2018.
The Employer Statement of Support is the cornerstone of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Employer Outreach program. It is a visible affirmation, signed by an organization's leader, which signifies their commitment to supporting their Guard and Reserve members (and their spouses) in service to their country. In signing the Employer Statement of Support, an organization demonstrates their patriotism and that they are a military-friendly organization, and in supporting our nation’s citizen service members, they are also serving their country. President Thomas Sullivan signed a Statement of Support for the event.
The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family.
The Above and Beyond Award recognizes the effort of the employer at enhanced levels of support to the drilling Guard member or Reservist.
Presented annually by each ESGR State Committee to one small, one large, and one public sector employer in their state or territory, the Pro Patria Award recognizes employers that have demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve. This is the highest-level award that may be bestowed by an ESGR State Committee. Employers who have been honored with the Above and Beyond Award, who have had at least one supervisor or other representative honored with a Patriot Award, and who have signed a Statement of Support are eligible for the Pro Patria Award.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a U.S. Department of Defense organization that promotes, recognizes, and enhances civilian employer support of citizen service members. ESGR, with its strategic partners, also facilitates meaningful employment opportunities for citizen warriors, all veterans, and military spouses.
Eric Gagnon, former Department of Medicine administrator, current director of facilities administration and projects for the College of Medicine, and a drilling promotable Lieutenant Colonel in the Vermont Army National Guard, nominated his former supervisor, Dr. Polly Parsons, for the award. He also nominated the organization for the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the most prestigious award presented to a civilian employer. The University of Vermont was Vermont ESGR’s nominee in the public sector for national consideration. Charles Irvin, Ph.D., vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine and associate dean for faculty affairs at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM, accepted the Patriot Award on behalf of his department, as well as the Above and Beyond and Pro Patria Awards, and the semi-finalist certificate for the 2018 Freedom Award on behalf of UVM.