WASHINGTON – More than 40 employers, largely from the trucking and transportation industries, affirmed support for their Guard and Reserve employees today at the Pentagon, officials of the Defense Department's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve said in a news release issued today.
Alex Baird, ESGR executive director, conducted a statement-of-support ceremony, in which the employers affirmed support for their Guard and Reserve employees and pledged to advocate for them while they pursue their careers and fulfill their military obligations, the officials said.
While deployments are down compared to the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guardsmen and reservists continue to serve in many ways from attending leadership schools to performing annual two-week training, officials said in the release.
Trucking Industry's History of Support
"Many of the employers represent the trucking and transportation industries, which have been very supportive of the nation's reserve component members," explained Tom Bullock, ESGR deputy director of employer outreach.
"The trucking industry in particular has committed to hire 150,000 veterans in the coming four years," he said.
Today's ceremony also recognized Fastport Inc. CEO Bill McLennan with ESGR's Seven Seals Award.
Considered the broadest and most inclusive honor recognized by ESGR senior leadership, the award recognizes "significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission, to include the efforts of the more than 4,700 volunteers who carry out ESGR's mission across the nation on a daily basis," according to ESGR's web site.
Organizational participants in the ceremony included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program, the National Defense Transportation Association, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, the American Bus Association, J.B. Hunt Transport, YRC Freight, U.S. Xpress, Werner Enterprise, and Greyhound Lines Inc., according to ESGR sources.
Wreaths Across America
Many of the employers in today's ceremony comprise the 200 members of the trucking industry that participate in the large-scale, annual Wreaths Across America event, in which holiday wreaths are delivered by a convoy of trucks to veterans' gravesites across the country.
In the release, ESGR officials said the employers who participated in today's affirmation ceremony were also encouraged to attend tomorrow's 23rd annual Wreaths Across America ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where thousands of volunteers will lay the wreaths on veterans' graves.
The trucking companies that participate in the annual event "donate time and resources to transport the wreaths from Maine to memorials and cemeteries across the country," Bullock said.