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.
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
(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….