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Civilian Military Participation Gains Supporters

Civilian Military Participation
Pictured at Wesson Aldermen meeting are (standing) ESGR Area 5 Chair Lynn Holloway, and (seated left to right) Mayor Alton Shaw, Ward 1 Alderman Larry Hall, Ward 2 Alderman Jarrad Ashley, Ward 3 Alderman Billy Ellison, Ward 4 Alderman Mike King, Alderman-at-Large Van Graham, and City Clerk Angela Hester. Assisting with local Statement of Support effort and not pictured was ESGR State Training Director Dr. Tim Lea.

Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw and the town's Board of Aldermen have joined a growing support network that advocates for employee participation in the military.

The Mayor and Aldermen signed on to the Statement of Support (SOS) that is the cornerstone of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) work to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.

ESGR, a Department of Defense program established in 1972, encompasses nearly 3,300 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Wesson SOS signees joined hundreds of thousands of employers that have signed ESGR Statements of Support pledging their support to Guard and Reserve employees. During the September 7 Aldermen meeting, Mayor Shaw and each board meeting signed their own separate statements to:

  • Fully recognize, honor, and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act;

  • Provide managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve;

  • Appreciate the values, leadership, and unique skills Service members bring to the workforce and encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists, and Veterans;

  • Continually recognize and support the nation's Service members and their families, in peace, in crises, and in war.

The intent of the SOS program is to increase employer support by encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the Nation’s Guard and Reserve units.

The first Statement of Support was signed December 13, 1972, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense by the Chairman of the Board of General Motors. President Richard Nixon was the first President to sign a Statement of Support, and in 2005 every Federal Cabinet Secretary and all Federal agencies signed a Statement of Support to signify their continuing efforts to be model employers.

ESGR volunteers from small business and industry, government, education, and prior military service bring a vast wealth of experience to assist in serving employers, Service members, and their families. Together with Headquarters ESGR staff and a small cadre of support staff for each State Committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.

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