Foss honored with ESGR Patriot Award
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Aug. 26, Watford City Elementary School Principal Brad Foss received the ESGR (Employer Support of Guard and Reserve) Patriot Award in recognition of his support to one of the Watford City Elementary School teachers who also serves in the North Dakota National Guard.
Staff Sergeant Kathleen Beard is assigned to the 1-112th Aviation (1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment) as a Senior Transmissions Systems Operator and Maintainer, with the duty of supervising the installation, operation, and maintenance of communications equipment for the Battalion. The 112th flys UH-60 Blackhawk and UH-72a Lakota Helicopters.
“I live 180 miles away from my drilling location and thus need to leave before the work day is over in order to arrive on time,” Beard wrote in her nomination. “Mr. Foss has always supported my need and hired substitutes in my stead. There were two months in a row this year where I had to take three days off for some extra training required of my duties in the National Guard. Mr. Foss did everything possible to make it smooth for my students, even stepping in to help substitute teach when she had technology issues. Mr. Foss is a busy, kind-hearted man and deserves a bit of recognition for his service to the teachers, myself, and the National Guard.”
Because Foss’s recognition and understanding of Beard’s military requirements and the obvious supportive atmosphere within the entire school system, the North Dakota ESGR Committee recommended the Above & Beyond Award for the Watford City Elementary School. McKenzie Couty Public School District No. 1 Superintendent Steve Holen accepted the award.
“We’re very proud of Mr. Foss’s recognition,” said Holen. “We’ve always felt that it’s been very important to support our staff and all military members.”
The presentations were made by ESGR State Committee Chair Bob Wefald with the assistance of local ESGR volunteer, Karolin Jappe.
“As a former Guard member, I understand and recognize the importance of supporting our service men and women,” said Foss. “I totally support all actions of the Guard, the Reserves, and the Active Duty Military branches. They are an important part of our society, whether it be war or national disasters. It’s all very important.”
School officials and other local employers in attendance signed ESGR Statements of Support to display in their business or offices.
“Our employers in North Dakota have really been tremendously supportive,” said Wefald. “Since 9-11, we’ve basically had a continuous deployment of soldiers. But there has been a great relationship of employers and service members.”
“Our military men and women put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and they and their families need and deserve understanding and support from their civilian employers when they come home,” stated U.S. Senator John Hoeven. “Through the ESGR’s efforts, they help to ensure that employers value both the civilian employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in our state, which is one of the most important ways we can thank them for their service. Thank you for your outstanding work.”
The ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.
The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made by individual supervisors 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.
The Above & Beyond Award is presented by ESGR state committees to recognize employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.
Thousands of employers and businesses nationwide have shown support to the military by signing a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve and display it prominently for employees and visitors to see. The business need not currently have a Reserve component employee.
Employers signing a statement of support pledge that: We fully recognize, honor, and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. We will provide our managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. We appreciate the values, leadrship, and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to employ Guardsmen, Reservists, and Veterans. We will continually recognize and support our country’s Service members and their families in peace, in crisis, and in war.
“I’m so excited to be working with Veterans again,” said Jappe. “They truly are my heros.”