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ESGR in the News


MORRIS, Minn. – Sgt. Ethan Morales, of the Minnesota Army National Guard, presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award to his supervisors. Russ Gesch and Sharon Weyers of U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The award was given recently in recognition of their support of their employee’s service to the Minnesota National Guard.

Ethan stated that both Russ Gesch and Sharon Weyers are very supportive of his military duties. He stated that Gesch was very flexible with his research program and reassigned his responsibilities when he was called up to various activations in Minnesota. All these activations were on short notices from hours to days. He said that Ms. Weyers made every effort to accommodate his military service. She structured her research program around his scheduled drill and annual training dates ensuring that his absence was not detrimental. She also brought in extra personnel or student workers to cover for the extended absences of his military duties. They both assured him not to worry about his benefits or job responsibilities so that he could focus on his military mission.

An employee serving in the National Guard or Military Reserve, or a spouse of a National Guard or Military Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors for the Patriot Award for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to an after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

In addition to receiving Patriot Awards, they both signed an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statement of Support, confirming that the research center joins other employers in pledging:

  • We fully recognize, honor, and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • We will provide our managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
  • We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire 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.

Also, present was Clarence Swenson, an ESGR Minnesota Committee member. 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 employers. This year 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 left to right: Clarence Swenson ESGR, Sharen Weyers, Sgt. Morales and Russ Gesch


Posted in: Minnesota
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