As Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, I had no idea how many National Guard and Reserve troops would be soon called into action to save lives and property. Yet that same night, these military heroes were on my mind as I sat among many of them at the 2017 Missouri Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserves Awards Dinner in Jefferson City. It was an incredible honor to receive the Above and Beyond Award, from the US Department of Defense’s ESGR program. The most touching moment was watching World War II heroes interact with young, military-minded teenage cadets who served as the color guard.
The World War II Missouri veterans were: Jim Shipley and his wife Mildred from Tipton, Bill McAney and his wife Linda from Jefferson City, Robert Lumpkin and his friend Shirley Oyerly from Savannah Mo, and Ferrill Purdy from Columbia who could not attend but sent Michelle Spry on his behalf.
Our U.S. military could not exist without the National Guard and Reserves and the Guard and Reserves could not exist without support of employers.
The Above and Beyond Award is presented by ESGR state committees to recognize employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
ESGR, a Department of Defense office, depends on dedicated volunteers and staff to promote employer support for Guard and Reserve and I met quite a few of them. The room was filled with friends such as Missouri ESGR Military Outreach Coordinator, Jeanne Savel and new friends, US Navy Rear Admiral Retired Lee J. Metcalf, Sedalia ESGR volunteer, Keith Crumley, and Waynesville Missouri Mayor Lude Hardin.
Another huge honor for me and Howard Laiderman, my husband and executive vice president, was that Veterans Home Care was among some outstanding Missouri employers honored at this event: BJC Healthcare, World Wide Technologies, Rockwood School District and so many others.
In addition to growing Veterans Home Care to become the largest provider of its kind in the industry, Bonnie has been a strong supporter of numerous charitable and social organizations with both a local and national impact. Wings of Hope and Lydia’s House have both benefited from Bonnie’s support to continue much needed services to our most vulnerable in need. Bonnie also is a member of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle, a national society of women leaders. Bonnie serves as Chairperson for the American Red Cross Service Armed Forces Committee.
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