By Maj. Corinna Moylan
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Traditional Reserve Airmen have the challenge of balancing three elements in their lives: family, the military and their civilian employment. To say “thank you” to civilian employers and inform prospective employers, the 302nd Airlift Wing welcomed 43 employers during the Wing’s Annual Employer Day April 4, 2014.
The participants included 13 employers of 302nd AW Citizen Airmen ranging from medical professionals to a supervisor with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as well as Denver-area employers hosted by Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. ESGR is a Department of Defense organization that promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and assists them in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
The employers experienced first-hand how Reserve Airmen support the wing’s primary mission of tactical airlift and learned about other mission capabilities such as C-130 aerial firefighting, aeromedical evacuation and survival, evasion, resistance and escape. The day’s events included experiencing a C-130 Hercules orientation flight over Pikes Peak, Waldo Canyon and back to Peterson Air Force Base.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but was delighted to be invited,” said Cheryl Parrish, vice president of programs for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Parrish, who employs Staff Sgt. Teresa Black from the 39th Aerial Port Squadron, said she did not realize the scope of how actively involved Reservists are not only far away, but “right here in our own state.”
“I was moved. I happened to be here for the recent fires and have such a great respect,” she said. “I have a new perspective of what my employee does and how hard reservists work. It’s pretty amazing.”
Immediately following the ESGR hosted lunch the employers took part in a visit to North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
“It was a tremendous experience and very informative,” said Wesley Cox, the director of pharmacy for palliative pharmacy of Pikes Peak-Pikes Peak Hospice and the employer of Master Sgt. Deborah Eaton from the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
To acknowledge the importance of reaching out to employers of Reservists, Col. Courtney Arnold, 302nd AW commander explained that, for a traditional reservist, it is like sitting on a three-legged stool. Arnold said each leg represents the Reservist’s family, civilian employer and their military commitment.
“It is a constant balancing act to keep the stool from falling over. But it can be done and it is done with the support of employers like you,” Arnold said addressing the visiting employers.
At the end of the day, Arnold presented each employer with a certificate of appreciation and an Air Force employer pin, signifying the important relationship between civilian employers and the members of the Air Force Reserve.