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ESGR in the News


PRESTON, Minn. – Army Reserve Maj. Corinne Haugen nominated Judge Matthew Opat, Minnesota Judicial Branch 3rd District, for an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award in September 2022.

As a result of the support offered to this service member and a spouse of another Army Reserve service member, the Minnesota Judicial Branch 3rd District was presented an Above and Beyond Award Aug. 19. 

Judge Opat hired Haugen as his law clerk right out of law school knowing about her military commitments and went above and beyond in supporting her military and work obligations. Haugen missed 90 days of work and a year later missed 4 more weeks leaving Judge Opat without a law clerk.  When Major Haugen took another position, a spouse of an Army Reserve in Major Haugen's unit was hired.  The spouse was given time to assist her military husband prepare for deployment, attend Yellow Ribbon events, and given time to visit him in Germany.

Present for the ceremony held at the Minnesota Judicial Branch 3rd District building in Preston, MN were as seen in the photo: James Kelzenberg, Region 6 Chair; Major Corinne M. Haugen; Judge Matthew Opat; Shelley Ellefson, District Administrator; Thomas Simonet, Minnesota ESGR Chair; John Kingrey, Region 7 Deputy Chair, and not in the photo Jack J Grams, Minnesota ESGR Awards Director and Ombudsman.

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the National Guard and Reserves through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. ESGR also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers. This year ESGR celebrates 51 years of excellence in support of the Reserve Components and their civilian employers.  For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800 336-4590) or visit

Photo courtesy of Lauren Hanson. Court Administrator



Posted in: Minnesota
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