Thirty seven honored with Patriot Award
For the first time, American Samoan private sector employers, ASG directors, and other supervisors and managers were recipients of the Patriot Award Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense operational committee, which was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.
The ceremony was held last Saturday at the local Army Reserve and attending were officials from the Army, 9th Mission Support Command Deputy Commander Colonel John Ellis and Command Sergeant Major David P Yamamoto.
The thirty-seven local employers who received Patriot Awards were from ASPA, ASG-DMWR, ASG-DOE, Kanana Fou School, ACE industries, DOH-Family Planning Program, ASG-Economic Stimulus &Recovery Office, BOH, ASG-Property Management, ASTCA, ASCC-Math Department, ASG-Homeland Security, TSA, AAFES-American Samoa Troop Store, High Court, Sunshine Inc, ASEPA, ASG-DPW and ASG-Treasurer-Customs.
Col. Ellis said during the ceremony that the reason the Army has named this a Patriot Award is because employers who help the soldiers are true patriots. When the soldiers are called up for duty, they must leave their jobs and upon completion of military service, they return and their jobs are still available for them. That is patriotic, he said, and noted that the connection remains between the soldiers and the community.
Col. Ellis commended the business community and the government agencies for this.
“It’s really commendable what you’re doing — employing the army reservists, and again — I want to say “faafetai” to the employers for taking care of the soldiers and allowing them to do their duty to the United States Army” he said.
The ESRG, a Department of Defense operational committee, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve component service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
According to a handout that was distributed to the audience, “ESGR is supported by a network of more than 4,900 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Volunteers, hailing from small business and industry, government, education and prior military service bring a vast wealth of experience to assist in serving employers, service members and their families. Together with Headquarters ESGR staff and a small cadre of support staff for each State Committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.
“ESGR has served our country for 40 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and the Reserve in the United States. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families” says the brochure.
It notes, “ESGR has continued to adapt to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families and America’s employers by joining forces with a network of other national, state and local government and professional trade organizations as together, We All Serve!"
The individual recipients of the Patriot Awards are: Faatulu Meleah, Volita Hunkin, Chamaine Lito, Sinaitaaga Gaoteote-Tufele, Damien McKenzie, Nadine Taufaasau, Ngaire Ho Ching, Marilyn Anesi, Ana Vaiau, Aneseti Taufete’e Vaisagote, Apofua Sappa-Filiaga, Dr. Emelia Le’i, Fai Marekoa, Hobbs Lowson, Ialiva Vaimaona, James Taylor, Kim Pili, Lagofaatasi Ae, Lemapu Suani, Letupu Moananu, Maasoama Falemalama, Mark Foster, Michael R Sala, Michelle McConnell, Puleai Aolese, Reuben Maae, Shelby Lewis, Shiloh Pritchard, Tauiliili Silivelio Iosefo, Sonja Stanley, Tavita Tupuola, Teofilo Makiasi, Fanuatele Dr. Toafa Vaiaga’e, Toeleiu, Willie Sio, Glen Lefiti, and Kerupi Moi.