By Lt. Tony Quinn, AA/PIO
On Jan. 15, California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-SAC), Correctional Sgt. Andrew Novak was awarded the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Patriot Award. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.
Correctional Officer Michael Coughlin, an employee at CSP-SAC currently serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, nominated Sgt. Novak for this prestigious award and was on hand to personally thank Novak on behalf of all of the women and men employed at CSP-SAC who also serve in the Guard and Reserve. During the presentation, Officer Coughlin said, “Sgt. Novak is always on hand to assist us in any way needed.”
Karen Alexandrou, training Director for ESGR, presented Novak with a certificate during the quiet ceremony attended by Warden (A) Jeff Lynch, Chief Deputy Warden (A) John Peterson and Novak’s friends and colleagues, thanking Novak on behalf of former United States Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis for his dedicated service to those who serve. In accepting the award, Novak said, “I was just doing my job.”
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. ESGR is supported by a network of more than 3,750 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states. Together with Headquarters ESGR staff and a small cadre of support staff for each State Committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.
ESGR has served our country for more than 45 years, fostering a culture in which employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families.