New Mexico Military Institute President/Superintendent Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle receives the 2013 Secretary [auth] of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award during the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Lunch with the Boss at the Daniels Leadership Center at NMMI, Friday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Roswell Committee for Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve hosted an awards and recognition banquet Friday to recognize several business people and public officials for supporting guardsmen and reservists.
“We are a nation of honor, duty and achievement,” said Mayor Del Jurney. “Congratulations to our award recipients today.”
Several employers were nominated by one of their employees for a Patriot Award. Three individuals were nominated by the ESGR Committee for a Seven Seals Award.
The New Mexico Military Institute hosted the event at the Daniels Leadership Center on campus.
Attendees at Friday’s event included state representatives, several local public officials, business leaders and several veterans.
Col. Timothy Paul, chief of staff of the NM National Guard, spoke about the important role businesses and law enforcement play in the lives of those who serve.
“These are your soldiers: police officers, firemen, workers at the bank,” Paul said. “Freedom won’t ring, the bell won’t chime, unless they have a job to go to 9-5. For that, I’d like to say thanks to all our employers.”
Paul talked about teamwork.
“We are all a team,” he said. “No matter how you look at this, we are all in this together and that’s what makes America great.”
New Mexico ESGR Field Chair Ray Battaglini said as the nation continues to meet the demands of war and downsize its military, business support is key for the state’s guardsmen and reservists.
“With the state’s 5,000 guardsmen and reservists who come and go as the nation calls them, we expect them to have a job and get employment when they return,” Battaglini said. “My job is to make sure that happens.”
Patriot awards, given to an employer who has provided exceptional support to an employee who is a member of the guard or reserve, is the most popular award.
One recipient, Lt. Daniel Ornelas of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Dept., was nominated by Deputy P.J. Villarreal.
Villarreal nominated Ornelas, “mainly because he’s always really helpful with scheduling for drills,” Villarreal said. “He’s so willing to be helpful with them and still take care of our schedules.”
Five guards or reservists are on staff at the Sheriff’s Department. This year, training has required longer than the usual 14 days, Villarreal said.
Ornelas said, as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he supports the deputies.
“Being in prior service myself, I feel you really need to support our past, present and future service members,” Ornelas said.
Others who received Patriot Awards included: Anthony McCune of Chenega Security; Andrea Morales of Stripes; David Lucero of K-Mart; Capt. Chris Lara of NM Youth Challenge Academy; Douglas Shannon of the Roswell Fire Dept.; Maria Vasquez of CYFD PS; Ken Morgan of Schlumberger; Rhona McClure of USPS; Roberto Garcia of FMS No. 1; Kurt Gass of Prime Source Mortgage; Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle of NMMI; Brigadier Gen. Richard Geraci of NMMI; LTC John Graff of NMMI; and John Wolstul of Competitive Car Care.
The ESGR Committee presented awards of the Seven Seals for outstanding support to the committee for promoting its mission to: Lovelace Regional Hospital, NMMI and LaQuinta Inn & Suites.
Above and Beyond Awards and NM Patriotic Employer Awards were given to Jim Barker of AerSale and Paul Bierwirth of Paul’s Veterinary, for hiring guardsmen and reservists.
Grizzle was presented with a 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Nominee certificate, which is the highest award a company or business can attain.