At the 9 June 12 awards banquet in Lansing, MI, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) recognized Michigan businesses that truly take care of their employees who are also in the military reserves or National Guard. The Pro Patria Awards are the highest state level awards presented to employers for their exceptional support of those serving in the Guard and Reserve. Pro Patria Awards are given in three categories: Public Sector, Large Business and Small Business.
This year, the Public Sector Pro Patria was being presented to the Kalamazoo Dept of Public Safety – They provided overwhelming support for their current and past military members. They are consistently recognized for outstanding personal service. One example of their commitment to support those in the military occurred when one of their service members was severely wounded as the result of a grenade exploding in his right hand. The department flew a contingency of officers to Walter Reed Army Hospital to be with their Officer/soldier and supported him and his family while they relocated to Washington DC. Then they went further. The Officer was re-trained to shoot left handed since his right hand was damaged. The agency trained, and guaranteed him his same job would be here waiting for him. The officer has since returned to full duty with no limitations. The city could have easily not cared, but they did the right thing and found a way for this wounded warrior to return to full duty. They provided him training, new equipment, and then promoting him to the department Honor Guard. He was nominated as an All-Star City employee during his healing time at Walter Reed.
The Kalamazoo Dept of Public Safety is also a finalist for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award—the highest award our nation makes to supporting employers.