We need to support the National Guard and Reserve

Earlier this year, members of the Washington State Senate adopted Senate Resolution 8674, honoring the Washington National Guard. Today, I’m asking for further support of Washington National Guard and Reserve members, their employers and the Department of Defense agency, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is reaching out to Washington communities this month to promote the hiring of National Guard members and Reservists and to raise awareness of the resources and services that support them and their employers. I’m proud to join ESGR in recognizing the remarkable service of our Guard and Reserve members and I encourage our area employers to hiring and support these hometown heroes.

Guard and Reserve members make up nearly half of the nation’s military force. Washington Guardsmen and Reservists have participated in nearly every operation and contingency since September 11, 2001. Additionally, these citizen-soldiers have also supported local communities in times of disaster and crisis.

Freedom AwardDue to their voluntary service, members of the National Guard and Reserve face unique challenges, often leaving behind families and civilian jobs when deployed. Employers can help ease these transitions for military employees and their families by providing stability, predictability and support. Honeyford added that 66 of Washington’s National Guard and Reserve members recently nominated their employers for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the Department of Defense’s highest award given to employers for supporting Guard and Reserve members.

I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of our country’s military men and women, especially those who call Washington state home. I encourage the Guard and Reserve community – including employers – to take advantage of the resources offered by ESGR so that we may keep the military-employer relationship strong, and our nation and communities safe.

For 40 years, ESGR has served our Guard and Reserve members and supported their employers by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between service members and employers. They maintain a network of more than 80 staff and volunteers in our state alone, as part of their nationwide volunteer network reaching service members across the country. For more information about ESGR, visit www.ESGR.mil.