Fourteen awarded by ESGR in Pelham

Congressman Gary Palmer addresses attendees of a June 17 ESGR awards luncheon concerning the treatment of military personnel. (Reporter photo/Jessa Pease)

Congressman Gary Palmer addresses attendees of a June 17 ESGR awards luncheon concerning the treatment of military personnel. (Reporter photo/Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— To celebrate dedication for assisting and honoring veterans, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Alabama Committee District 6 recognized 14 individuals at a June 17 awards program.

A few dozen community leaders, residents and business owners gathered at the Pelham Civic Complex from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the event.

“For those of us who have served in the military before, our term of service at some point ended, but our responsibility to defend and protect the rights of the veterans never ends,” Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said in his welcome address.

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis, Trussville Fire and Rescue Chief Russell Ledbetter and Robert Morgan, of Southern Company Services, were all given Patriotic Employer Awards.

The awards are given to those employers who go above and beyond to work with military personnel, giving them the required time off and guaranteeing they have a job when they get back.

Congressman Gary Palmer was a Seven Seals Awards recipient, and he also addressed the attendees about the importance of the RSGR organization.

“I think it’s especially important that (military personnel) know when they get home they are coming home to a job,” Palmer said. “It’s really conducive to making that transition, not only back to civilian life, but back into family life. I really appreciate the work that you’ve done, and it’s especially important in the context of an all-volunteer military.”

Palmer was one of 10 other individuals who received the Seven Seals Award. The award is presented in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission.

The following individuals were also awarded the Seven Seals Award:

  • Ethan Vice, field representative for Palmer
  • Harry Moon, veterans service officer
  • Former Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry
  • Yvette Fields, manager of the Alabama Career Center
  • Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego
  • Leo “Chic” Cecchini, Matthew Blount American Legion Post 555 photographer
  • Tom Walker, founder of American Village
  • Texys Morris, public defender with Jefferson County
  • Henry McCaskill Jr., public and private partnership office with U.S. Army Reserve
  • Russell D. Johnston Jr., PNC bank

“(ESGR) started with the realization that we were getting away from the draft and we were going to use reserves and guardsmen for supporting us,” said Dr. Bill Kringel. “We realized employers supporting the guard and reserve was critical for our way of life.”

For more information, visit Esgr.mil.