Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



August 3, 2018


Photos and Story By Jacque Ritchie, TALON

United States military brass and VFW members gathered Friday to honor local business people as citizen heroes for hiring National Guardsmen/women and Reserve Soldiers despite the logistical challenges that may present. The award luncheon was hosted by the federal Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program(ESGR) and was held at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Farmington with more than 100 people in attendance including Brigadeer General Thomas P. Bump.

"The most important thing for military service members to know is that, when they get called away, they will have their job when they return," said retired Staff Sargeant Mark Gordon. Gordon is the New Mexico State Chair for ESGR. "Our mission is to foster cooperation between employers and employees who are members of the guard and the reserves...It is all-important that our guys know that they will have the same job they had when they return, and they won't be penalized for doing their duty." Gordan explained, "They need to have that measure of security to be able to effectively perform the mission...they can't focus on doing the job at hand if they are worried about the future of their family at home."

Both national guardsmen and reserve soldiers are required to complete 10 weeks of basic training and drill one weekend a month plus two weeks during the summer for the duration of their service. Guardsman may also be called up on a moments notice by the governor or the president for any state emergency or disaster. This sort of deployment typically last between 15 and 60 days. Gov. Susanna Martinez told the Associated Press that a total of 250 NM National Guardsman are currently deployed to patrol the Mexican border as part of the Trump administration zero-tolerance immigration policy. Reservists and Guardsmen also may be called to serve overseas as active-duty soldiers in time of war for as long as a year at a time. Reservists can only be called up federally and do not assist in domestic emergency situations.

It takes a special kind of boss to work around a serviceman/woman's busy and at times unpredictable schedule. ESGR realizes these challenges and rewards these employers with incentives as well as plaques and Statement of Support Certificates for their sacrifices, Gordon said, "These employers really go above and beyond and are actually serving the country in a way... They should be recognized for that."

Bloomfield Police Chief Randon Matthews says about half of his 14 1/2 person force are in the guard or the reserve saying for BPD, the advantages in hiring military service people far outwiegh the logistical challenges, "The training that these candidates have already gone through is very similar to what they are asked to do at the academy, so we know they are probably physically able to get through it." Matthews also said that the discipline it takes to get through basic training and in the military transfers well into a carreer in law-enforcement, "They (guard and reserve candidates) definitly come to us with a good work ethic. They understand the importance of discipline and structure, they appreciate the chain of command which is good. They just seem to be able to digest a problem and figure out a solution more quickly than someone who hasn't had that kind of training." Matthews told TALON that the Bloomfield Police Department is currently hiring, "Yeah, we've seen about an 80 percent decline in applicants we are definitly looking to hire some officers." Matthews said given last fall's school shooting, there is an immediate need for at least one more school resource officer in Bloomfield.

ESGR presented 22 local businesses and governmental entities with certificates of appreciation and plaques for meritorious leadership in supporting the men and women who serve. Notably, Process Equipment & Service Company (PESCO), Farmington, goes above and beyond by compensating their guard and reserve employees for 40 hours on top of allowing employees, (who have been on the job for a year or more) to use paid personal time off for the second week of their annual training. A company spokesperson explains that PESCO hires veterans as well as guard and reservists because of the unique skill set they bring to the table, "We have a number of proud veterans on the team...The strengths and knowledge they bring along with all they have accomplished through the military is very valuable in the workplace."


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