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ESGR rewards employers for support

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Fifteen Arkansas people or employers were recognized July 14 for their support of uniformed members of the National Guard or Reserves.
Mr. Lyndell Lay, the state's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve chair, recognized the group at an annual meeting on Little Rock Air Force Base.
Mr. Lay presented the state's most prestigious award, the Pro Patria award, to Mr. Russ Harrington, Baptist Health's chief executive officer. The Pro Patria award recognizes the state's outstanding Reserve component employer of the year.
Army Guard Sgt. Leanna Higginbotham, the state's ESGR program support specialist, said she receives calls from employers who want to make sure they have done everything required by law for their employees who have military careers.
"Take Baptist Health for instance, they not only provide the difference between a service member's regular pay and military pay during the duration of the mobilization to active duty, they also provide continuation of health, dental, life and long-term disability benefits," she said. "Accrual rates for purposes of longevity, service awards, benefits, compensation and promotions continue as though the employee was present."
Baptist Health maintains contact with Guard and Reserve employees and families during periods of military service.
The CEO and president of Baptist Health personally and publicly encourages patriotic support of its military employees and the Armed Forces through encouraging and inspiring voice mail and e-mail messages system-wide, and through articles in its employee newsletter.
The pictures of mobilized employees are proudly displayed on a Wall of Honor in the cafeteria of its flagship hospital.
Additionally, Baptist Health has provided above and beyond support of the Armed Forces by providing its facilities for training.
One weekend, Baptist Health provided its Foundation suite of offices and conference room to the Navy Reserve Military Sealift Command Expeditionary Port Unit 112.
This unit participated in a scenario-based communications exercise with Military Sealift Command Northern Europe and was able to use Baptist Health Foundation offices as its exercise headquarters.
This came with access to phones, fax, computers and other facilities at no charge to the Navy.
Other awards presented July 14 were the state's ESGR Seven Seals awards.
The Seven Seals certificate honors organizations or individuals who do not necessarily employ Reserve component members but who have shown an interest in assisting the Reserve component mission, Sgt. Higginbotham said.
Recipients were the Office of the Governor, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Arkansas National Guard Family Readiness, Arkansas Department of Veterans' Affairs, FTN Associates, Alltel Communications, Clear Channel Communications, Weyerhaeuser, Mays Mission for the Handicapped, AETN public television, Generation Products Company, War Memorial Stadium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and military beat reporter Amy Schlesing of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
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