Colorado ESGR gives support to Guardsmen, employers
By Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares, 140th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2014
BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- Fewer than one percent of the United States' population serves in the military today. That means most of the nation's civilians don't have first-hand experience of what military service entails. Employers who hire Guardsmen and Reservists know they are doing military 'stuff,' but when they suddenly disappear for random periods of time, that employee can seem to be more of a liability than a member of their team. So, the ESGR or Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve was created by the Department of Defense to be an intermediary advocate agency to help veterans and educate their employers.
One of the best ways to educate an employer is to show them what their employees do on drill weekends. That is what "Employer Day" is all about. For the Colorado National Guard, that was Saturday, September 13 at Buckley Air Force Base.
The day started with a light breakfast of coffee and pastries - but nothing heavier because the helicopter ride later could be turbulent. Then, after a meet and greet with The Adjutant General of Colorado, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards and a few other general officers, the civilians were divided up for tours of the F-16s, their maintenance facilities and the opportunity to meet aircrews. Then, the visitors were sent to GSU's or Geographically Separated Units.
While waiting to board CH-47 Chinook helicopters, the excitement was infectious. Meeting aircrews and seeing their professionalism at work is what ESGR day is all about. Flying in an Army helicopter is something most civilians will never do, so it is almost guaranteed that employers will talk about their adventure back in the office - which is exactly what the ESGR wants. Truthful impressions of the American military culture are not often presented in movies or on TV. ESGR day is designed for civilian employers to see for themselves their employee's dedication and competence.
Rebecca Landry from Kaiser Permanente commented, "If I was young, I would enlist today. It is such a great experience." Her favorite part of the day, was the helicopter ride, but she noticed the memorials scattered around Buckley Air Force Base. "You have a lot of those all over, I feel honored to be here."
Airman First Class, Ryan Delgado's employer, Zachary Delisa with GE Health Care Finance said the day was amazing. "It's hard to pick a favorite. I could have spent all day in the F-16 hangar." Of course, the ride in the helicopter was fun too, he said.
But there was one last thing Delisa wanted to add and that was "Thank you for today and all that you do."
Founded in 1972, ESGR promotes free education, consultation, and if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees. Its goal is to support America's employers who share their employees with the nation to ensure U.S. national security.