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ESGR in the News


ROCHESTER, Minn. – Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer Heidi Kruger presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award to Lani Towne, her employment supervisor, at Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) headquarters Feb. 2. The award was given in recognition of Lani Towne's support of her employee's service to the Navy.

Kruger was very appreciative of Lani Towne's support and assistance with her military service and Navy requirements and wanted to honor her.

“I was a newly hired employee with RPU in August 2023 and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer at the same time,” said Kruger. “The promotion entailed six weeks of initiation and training at my gaining command in the state of Virginia preventing my ability to relocate to Minnesota as planned. Lani coordinated with the City of Rochester Human Resources and the RUP team to allow me to work remotely starting day one. Lani was flexible and understanding when I had to come in late or leave early for military training. She ensured that as a new employee I was informed of my military benefits and ensured I was paid for my time away from the Utility. She continues to support my military commitment when I am required to travel back to Virginia for Annual Training and/or weekend drills."

In addition to receiving a Patriot Award, Towne also signed an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statement of support; vowing for her company to recognize, honor and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USARRA).

Also present were Jamie Putzier, Customer Collections Technician, RPU and Jim Kelzenberg ESGR Region Six Minnesota Chairperson.

ESGR is a Department of Defense Office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the National Guard and Reserve through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws ESGR also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employees. This year ESGR celebrities over 51 years of excellence in support of the Reserve Components and their civilian employers.

For More information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, Cal (800) 336-4590 or visit

Photo Left to Right: ESGR Region 6 Chair, Jim Kelzenberg, Recipient of the Patriot Award, Lani Towne, Nominator Chief Petty Officer Heidi Kruger.

Posted in: Rhode Island
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