Four Central Illinois Businesspersons Recognized for Support to National Guard; Story by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/14/2011)(readMedia)-- Distinguished guests and prominent local leaders assembled at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield Dec. 13, the 375th birthday of the National Guard, to honor employers and their commitment to supporting the Guard and its missions.
"We are here to recognize some organizations that have been supportive of the National Guard; specifically units that are deploying to Afghanistan and we are going to give them the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Seven Seals Award," said Lt. Col. Tim W. Franklin of Springfield, with the Illinois Army National Guard and Program Coordinator for Illinois ESGR.
The Seven Seals Award represents the seven military reserve components: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard reserves, along with the Army and Air National Guard.
The four who were honored with the Seven Seals Award for their efforts were Karen Hewitt, Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; Dr. Pinky Wassenberg, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois-Springfield; Todd Renfrow, retired General Manager, City Water, Light, and Power of Springfield; and Dan Jackson, Sangamon County Division Manager, Allied Waste Management.
"The individuals we honor tonight provided members of the Illinois Army National Guard an expanded knowledge of how our units of government accomplish their daily operations in the critical infrastructure sector," said Franklin. "Their expertise provided a collaborative environment between Soldiers and civilian subject matter experts in the fields of technology, engineering, and culture."
Each one of the Seven Seals Award Recipients went above and beyond their occupational responsibilities to make the preparation training beneficial for all involved. Although the Illinois Army National Guard representatives collected priceless experience and insights the four honored also found the collaborative process to be valuable.
"We prepared the Guard for what they could expect and how to capture and benefit from it," said Renfrow. "It was a very rewarding experience."
"I did it because it's the thing you should want to do for the country," said Renfrow. "We depend on the Guard and the Reserves to bolster our safety and I would like to help them accomplish their mission in any way I can."
Also in attendance was Sergio Pecori, President and CEO of Hanson Professional Services in Springfield. Hanson was recognized this year as one of only 15 companies nationwide to receive the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
Support from employers is crucial for the long-term success of each citizen-Soldier and the National Guard and Reserve. The four honored professionals said they understand their involvement is essential to the success of the mission and are setting a high example for other employers to follow.
The Illinois National Guard will continue its birthday celebrations Dec. 14 in downtown Springfield. As part of the Downtown Springfield Inc. Holiday Walk, the National Guard will feature many of its capabilities, with hands-on, interactive displays open to all ages. Featured equipment includes up-armored vehicles, a M777 howitzer and the Engagement Skills Training 2000, which virtually simulates weapon-training, a Korea War-era vehicle and a World War I cannon. The celebration takes place from 4 to 8:30 p.m.
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