The Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Committee (the Committee) of Employer Support of the Guard and the Reserve (ESGR) held its “We All Serve” awards ceremony on March 26, 2019, at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The annual event recognizes regional employers for their outstanding support of their employees who are members of the National Guard and the military Reserves.

“We are most fortunate to have organizations in our region that align with and support ESGR’s goals and mission,” said ESGR SW PA Area Chair Rochelle Stachel. “Their commitment helps to demonstrate the value we all place on employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserves, whether in recovery from natural disasters, keeping the peace in faraway places, or protecting our safety in defense of the freedoms we all share here at home.”

Guest speakers for the event included:

The Committee recognized 34 companies and organizations with the Patriot Award, given to employers nominated by employees, for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. This year’s Above & Beyond Award went to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, Pennwest Toyota Lift, and Bank of New York Mellon Corporation for exceeding the requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees. Recipients of the Seven Seals Award, which recognizes the efforts by a citizen, business, or organization whose actions have significantly benefited all Reserve components, include the City of Pittsburgh, First Energy-Aliquippa, Hickory Energy Services LLC, Imperial Hoist, Inc., Oberg Industries, Uber Advance Technology Group, UPMC Health Plan, and Vector Security, Inc.

Slippery Rock University’s Jeffery Smith, SRU Chair of the Council of Trustees, and Staff Sergeant Gary Clark received a special recognition award as a 2018 Freedom Award recipient. The Committee also announced 20 different organizations as semi-finalists for 2019 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.

(L-R) Rochelle Stachel and Major General Wesley E. Craig (Ret.) present Slippery Rock University’s Jeffery Smith, SRU Chair of the Council of Trustees, and SSG Gary Clark with a special recognition plaque as a 2018 Freedom Award recipient.

“A special ‘thank you’ to this year’s guest speakers, the 911th Airlift Wing Color Guard, Staff Sergeant Charles Stoddard (National Anthem singer), Staff Sargent Kendall A. Lubay (MIA-POW Table Ceremony), members of the River City Brass Band, and the CMU Pipes and Drums,” continued Rochelle Stachel.  “The ESGR Awards Ceremony doesn’t happen without our event supporters Allegheny County Bar Association (MVAC); Porter Wright, LLP; Pittsburgh Human Resources Association; and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum Trust, Inc.  In particular, I want to thank HRV staff members for planning and coordinating the event, “Chef and I” catering service, photographer Harrison Lilley, the ESGR Awards Committee, and Harold’s Flowers for the centerpieces.”

Members of the River City Brass Band and Carnegie Mellon University’s Pipes and Drums provided accompanying music for the MIA/POW Table Ceremony (Taps and Amazing Grace), God Bless America, and Musical Recognition of the Service Branches.

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