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ESGR in the News


EAST LANDSDOWNE, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced members of the Vision Academy’s staff received Seven Seals Awards and a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.

The Seven Seals Award is the broadest and most inclusive award given by ESGR, as it may be awarded to employers, ESGR Staff members and, or any person or entity that significantly advances the ESGR Mission. ESGR promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws.

The Patriot Award is the first in ESGR's series of awards and reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to present Vision Academy with Seven Seals Awards for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces. In addition to the Seven Seals Award, the Academy’s Director of Operations Halil Chinar received a Patriot Award.

Vision Academy and Chinar were nominated for the awards by Sgt. Ahmadou Njimoke Tijami who is a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 252nd Quartermaster Company in Philadelphia. Tijami also nominated Halil Chinar for a Patriot Award in recognition of the support he’s receives throughout the year.

In nominating Vision Academy leadership and personnel, Tijami said: “Vision Academy Charter School has been very supportive of my military service. They understand my rights as a deploying soldier and protected my job position. Since my return from deployment, I have been treated as if I never left.”

Presenting the award on behalf of ESGR was Jeffrey Hill, Pennsylvania Southeast Area volunteer. Hill commented: “This is my third visit to Vision Academy, and I've presented a total of four Patriot Awards to members of the senior staff at the school. Vision Academy’s leadership and I arranged to present this Seven Seals Award at a faculty meeting. Over 30 teachers and staff attended and got a better understanding of the critical role our Guard and Reserve members play in America's defense, and how important it is that employers like Vision Academy appreciate and respect that service and support our Reserve Component members.”

In addition to presenting a Seven Seals and Patriot Awards, Hill obtained a Statement of Support. The Statement of Support confirms that the company 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 crises and in war.

“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units,” said Hill. “I am asking all Southeast Pennsylvania employers to take a look at their current human resources policies to incorporate policies supportive of Guard and Reserve employees.” Many Pennsylvania employers provide support above and beyond their legal requirements by law by offering pay-differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits, which complement coverage provided by the military, when their employees mobilize.”

Vision Academy joins a cadre of Fortune 500 companies, state and federal, agencies and thousands of America’s employers in demonstrating support for our armed forces. Hill added: “By signing the Statement of Support, Vision Academy is sending a clear message to its employees that while they are serving their country, they do not have to worry about their civilian jobs.”

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, a global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit

Photo #1 (L–R): Patriot Award recipient Chinar, ESGR Southeast Area Volunteer Hill, and Sgt. Ahmadou Njimoke Tijami

Photo #2 (L–R): Technology Instructor Dave Peter, Sgt. Ahmadou Njimoke Tijami, ESGR Southeast Area Volunteer Hill, Athletic Coordinator Chris Eggleston, Kindergarten Teacher Sycarria Ellerbe, and Patriot Award recipient Chinar.

Posted in: Pennsylvania
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