Serving in the National Guard or Reserve presents unique challenges. Unlike their Active Duty counterparts, members of the Army and Air National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve serve their nation part-time and work for civilian employers full-time. Understanding this distinct difference, in 1972 the Department of Defense established Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), which “develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws.  It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between the Service members and their employers.”

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Committee of ESGR supports the recognition component of this important mission by holding its annual “We All Serve” Awards Ceremony. This year’s event is being held on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Guest speakers include Dr. Chris Howard, President of Robert Morris University, Brigadier General Gregg A. Perez, Chief of Staff, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and Major General Wesley E. Craig (Ret.), Pennsylvania ESGR State Chair.

The awards presented at the annual ceremony include the Patriot Award, given to employers nominated by employees for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve; the Above & Beyond Award for exceeding the requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees; the Seven Seals Award, which recognizes the efforts by a citizen, business, or organization whose actions have significantly benefited all Reserve components; and the Freedom Award, which recognizes the nation’s 15 most exceptional supporters to their National Guard and Reserve employees, and is the highest employer-recognition award given by the Department of Defense.

Providing entertainment and thematic music for the evening is the River City Brass Band, led by renowned Artistic & General Director James Gourlay, and the Carnegie Mellon Pipes and Drums, led by one of the world’s leading ‘pipers,’ Director Andrew Carlisle.

The 2018 Eagle Plaque Award Recipient
On behalf of Highmark Health, Dr. Lonie Haynes, VP of Diversity and Inclusion, being presented with the 2018 Eagle Plaque, given in recognition of sustained support of the National Guard and Reserve service. (L-R) Rochelle Stachel (ESGR SW PA Area Chair); Dr. Haynes, First Sargent Michael Harper (Nominator, no longer with Highmark); Nicholas Krawec (ESGR 2018 SW Past Area Chair, State Employer Liaison)

For more information about Southwest PA Area ESGR,
HRV President H. Rochelle Stachel at (412) 299-2000.

To inquire about attending the 2019 ESGR “We All Serve” Ceremony,
call Betsy Wehner at
(412) 299-2000.

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