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COESGR Newsletter October 2013

COESGR Newsletter October 2013

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Published by James Garrett
Colorado ESGR monthly newsletter
Colorado ESGR monthly newsletter

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Published by: James Garrett on Oct 11, 2013
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Welcome to Colorado ESGR. Our purpose is to have an informative newsletter that will educate, inform,Welcome to Colorado ESGR. Our purpose is to have an informative newsletter that will educate, inform,Welcome to Colorado ESGR. Our purpose is to have an informative newsletter that will educate, inform,and promote service by and to ESGR while fulfilling our mission of supporting Employers, Guard/Reserveand promote service by and to ESGR while fulfilling our mission of supporting Employers, Guard/Reserveand promote service by and to ESGR while fulfilling our mission of supporting Employers, Guard/Reservemembers, Military and Veteran Employment Initiatives and our COESGR Volunteers.members, Military and Veteran Employment Initiatives and our COESGR Volunteers.members, Military and Veteran Employment Initiatives and our COESGR Volunteers. 
October 2013
I experienced the crowning jewel of my first 2 years of 
ESGR service as a recent attendee of the 2013 Freedom AwardCeremony (FAC). The ESGR Freedom Award is the highest honor bestowed to a company for their above and beyond support to itsGuard and Reserve employees. I was honored when I received thecall from our State Chair (Richard Young) to be one of two escorts
for this year’s event. The reason; because of the three categories for 
the Freedom Award (Small Business, Large Business, and PublicSector), Colorado proudly had two recipients. Our winners wereDaVita in the Large Business category and Colorado Springs Utilitiesfor the Public Sector category. The ESGR State Chair is traditionallythe escort for those worthy enough to garner such an accomplishment.But given that Colorado had two winners (a good problem), we were authorized to send an additional member. Ipropose for FY14 we send our State Chair and two additional members if you get my drift. Wow, what an event!
Upon showing up to our nation’s capital, I quickly learned that the FAC was the culmination of a weeklong ESGR
National Leadership Meeting. In the midst of ESGR conducting their national meeting, New Chair Training,
Volunteer of the Year activities, key participants were swiftly rallied by the Award Ceremony’s Officer 
-in- Charge
(Lt Col Mellissa Phillips) on the quickly approaching event details. Under the watchful eyes of ESGR’s Deputy
Director, Mr. Fessel, key players garnered the information to make every facet of the ceremony a smashing hit. As ESGR leaders conducted their week long leadership meeting, 15 prestigious companies and their entouragemade their way to the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in downtown DC. The Freedom Award Support Staff ensuredthe nominators and recipients received a first class experience. Their 3-day activities included not only anincredible awards ceremony but a Pentagon tour which included meeting with members from the Secretary of Defense and a luncheon with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (Honorable Jessica
Wright) along with ESGR’s National Chair (Mr. Paul Mock). Even more impressive was that national recipients got
to meet the President of the United States at the White House. However nothing topped the emotions andexperience of witnessing the Freedom Award ceremony for the first time.
The ceremony took place on September 26, 2013 at the Ronald Reagan and International Trade Center 
.It was evident by every gleaming detail of the incredible effort contributed by so many gracious volunteers. As Admiral Young and I arrived promptly at 5pm, we were overwhelmed by excitement and the sheer beauty of theplace. At 6pm we eagerly met each of our honored guests from DaVita and Colorado Springs Utilities. ESGRallocated each winning company a total of 10 personnel from their company. Both
Colorado Springs Utilities
proudly brought its maximum. And in the hour long reception of the Atrium Ballroom, a rarecombination of pride, humbleness and surrealism peaked. The Admiral and I, with our winners beaming, had therare opportunity for each Colorado team to mingle.
A Freedom Award Ceremony Experience 
Article by ESGR volunteer, Col Mark Hustedt, USAF (Ret)
Continued next page….
Jerry Forte, Denise Forte, Col Mark Hustedt,USAF, Ret., Admiral Richard Young, USN, Ret.
That was an exciting time as all national winners recipients gatheredand
we soon transitioned into the carefully planned ceremony room. Theroom was spectacular with its red white and blue themed décor and tablesdressed in every degree of elegance. The stage was precisely set with thebrilliant Freedom Award Trophy and an ARMY Brass Quintet at the readyto usher in the color guard. The evening kicked off with our Emmy-winning
Master of Ceremonies (Leon Harris)
followed by impacting words fromour 
Keynote speaker 
Under Secretary Jessica L. Wright
. For the next
hour we feasted on food that would quench anybody’s palate until we
reached the pinnacle of the evening; the presentation of the Freedom Award.
A unique and moving part of the ceremony was where a nominator from
each of the three award categories shared personal testimoniesregarding their respective employer. It was incredibly touching to watchour very own
Lt Col Hermina Yarde 
of DaVita, Inc. stand up and sharewith the audience her deep appreciation for her employer. Those personalmoments shared by our Reserve and Guard members were only trumpedby brief seconds when Colorado Springs Utilities' CEO
Jerry Forte
DaVita’s CEO
David Grams
took the stage to receive the prestigiousFreedom Award trophy.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled to sit next to Colorado Springs
Chief Chris Ortiz 
and his lovely wife Christina. TheMC even made the comment that the morale was extremely high atColorado Springs Utilities because they were the loudest table when thetrophies were being awarded. It truly was a magical evening and I countmyself incredibly honored to have been a part of it.
The following day as Admiral Young and I conducted business near 
Capitol Hill, his words still ring in my ear. He looked at me and said “Mark,
in order for a company to capture the Freedom Award, we need to help
them prepare a year in advance”. It wasn’t rocket science but it hit home. I
personally saw Colorado Springs Utilities do just that. They were verycompetitive in 2012. Their enthusiastic Human Resource experts, ShirleyMartinez and Josie Colorado with stellar support from their CEO, had rocksolid Reserve Component HR initiatives. And even though they had agreat showing in 2012 by Freedom Award standards, they fell just a littleshy of being a national contender. However, Colorado Springs Utilitiesbeing competitive in nature and desiring to continuously raise the bar, theyset forth in 2013 with an even more robust Guard and Reserve initiatives.They actively engaged with ESGR and the community on some brilliantGuard and Reserve projects and ideas. Their motivation was not to simplygarner a trophy, but to better serve their internal service members. Theyhit a home run and now their policies are being studied by other 
companies as “Best Practices”! Way to go Colorado Springs Utilities and
also to your northern brethren DaVita for being 2 of only 15 nationallyrecognized organizations.
We at ESGR could not be more proud
Paul E. Mock, Jerry Forte,and Jessica L. Wright.Paul E. Mock, David Grams,and Jessica L. Wright.Lt Col Hermina Yarde, Davita, Inc..Leon Harris, Master of CeremoniesUnder Secretary Jessica L. Wright
Colorado Recipients of 2013 Freedom Award 
Colorado Springs UtilitiesDavita, Inc.
2013 Annual2013 AnnualSecretary of DefenseSecretary of Defense Employer Freedom AwardEmployer Freedom Award BanquetBanquet September 26, 2013September 26, 2013 Ronald Reagan Building andRonald Reagan Building and International Trade CenterInternational Trade Center Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C. 

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