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Minnesota National Guard
A big day for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

Minnesota National Guard Every morning 83 year-old Richard Giroux of Mankato, Minn starts his day by hanging his American flag  His patriotism could have been instilled in him during his Korean War tour with the Army, or during his service in the Minnesota National Guard as a Soldier and full time technician Either way, 38 years, four months and seven days of military service made him a proud American, concerned for the welfare of Service members  

This week Giroux sat among dozens of veterans as dedicated as himself at the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) annual training and Annual Employer Support Awards Banquet in Bloomington, Minn May 20

“Thanks for what you do,” said Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Richard C Nash as he spoke to more than 30 ESGR volunteers during their day-long annual training “It’s extremely important”

As an ESGR unit liaison in Mankato, Giroux volunteers his time promoting a culture in which employers support and value the military service of their employees “I get satisfaction from trying to help somebody,” said Giroux about his volunteerism More than 120 volunteers, just like Giroux are scattered across Minnesota Program Support Technician Jim Mitchell says they could even use more volunteers “Each unit should have a liaison, but we have some gaps,” said Mitchell “We’d like to have employer outreach volunteers too, but we don’t have enough volunteers for that yet”

One of the important jobs volunteers have is facilitating in the presentation of awards to employers for their support Last year more than 220 individual supervisors and bosses were presented with Patriot Awards in all four corners of the state

 In some instances entire companies are doing profound work for their employees in the reserve components  For top awards like the Above and Beyond Award, the Seven Seals Award and the Pro Patria Award the Annual Employer Support Awards Banquet is the venue for presentation This week more than 300 employers, military members and ESGR volunteers gathered to honor 29 companies Minnesota wide, which exemplify military support

Receiving top honors with the Pro Patria Award are ASAS/ Tysol Inc, US Bank and the City of Rochester

Senior Master Sgt Darrin Ewing nominated his small business employer ASAS/Tysol Inc in Woodbury for the Pro Patria Award  “Not only did my employer provide the much appreciated service member support while my unit was overseas, but they remained in constant contact with my wife and other family members,” said Ewing

Ewing has deployed multiple times over the last 20 years while working at ASAS/Tysol and serving in the Minnesota Air National Guard  Through each deployment he continued to receive full pay and benefits and was shown random acts of kinds by his employer  Additionally this company, with just four employees, is an active member of Woodbury’s Yellow Ribbon Network

Air Force Reserve Col Michael Ott nominated his employer US Bank who won the Pro Patria Award in the large business category  “I am proud to serve and I enjoy inordinate support, advocacy and care from US Bank It is only through that support that I am able to continue to serve my country,” said Ott
US Bank has a military leave program policy that exceeds state and federal standards The company also has a formal military support program called Proud to Serve, an ongoing recruiting program aimed at Service members and veterans, and they have been proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon Company

The city of Rochester earned the final Pro Patria Award in the public sector category, nominated by Minnesota National Guard Col Eric Kerska  “Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede is an outspoken advocate for support of the Guard and Reserve,” said Kerska “He continuously voices his support as well as encourages employers everywhere to support the troops”

As a Yellow Ribbon City, Rochester continues to find unique ways to support military families and Service members deployed  Last year the city supported an effort with the Chamber of Commerce and ESGR to conduct a job fair and help decrease the veteran unemployment rate

After a full day with his ESGR comrades that included being recognized for his 15 years as a volunteer and watching the fruits of relationships he’s worked recognized on the stage, Giroux headed back to Mankato He had an important ritual that needed his attention in the morning

May 20, 2013
2nd Lt Melanie Nelson
Minnesota ational Guard Public Affairs

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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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