Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Pictured left to right: Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Vice Chair Tom Simonet, Winona District Maintenance Worker Mark Spitznogle, Curt McMurl, Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Chair Nick Ostapenko, Minnesota Air National Guard, Col. Hodges Gotz. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Pictured left to right: Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Vice Chair Tom Simonet, Winona District Maintenance Worker Mark Spitznogle, Curt McMurl, Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Chair Nick Ostapenko, Minnesota Air National Guard, Col. Hodges Gotz. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Winona District Maintenance Worker Mark Spitznogle serves as a Staff Sergeant in the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Airlift Wing Civil Engineering Squadron. Photo by USFWS.
Winona District Maintenance Worker Mark Spitznogle serves as a Staff Sergeant in the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Airlift Wing Civil Engineering Squadron. Photo by USFWS.

Creating a supportive work environment for
active guard and reserve employees

The staff of the Winona District of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge received special recognition recently for their on-going work to create a supportive environment for their employees who are active in the National Guard and Reserve.

On May 8, 2017, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Minnesota Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve made the announcement at their annual Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Metro Region awards banquet in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“It means a lot to us to recognize and honor those employers who support our members of the National Guard and Reserve in our communities,” said Minnesota Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Chair Nick Ostapenko.

The Above and Beyond Award is presented by the committee 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 by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.

Field stations like the Winona District don’t just happen by accident and certainly aren’t the exception. We build supportive places to work for our active guard members and reserve employees across the Midwest Region. It’s a collaborative endeavor, one that takes a dedicated employee, supervisor and a team of coworkers.

“Mark is a great asset for our agency. He brings an awesome set of skills to the job from his military service and we benefit greatly. It's an honor and a privilege to work with him and support his continued service to our country in every way we can,” said Supervisory Wildlife Refuge Specialist Curt McMurl.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, recognizing outstanding employer support, and resolving potential conflicts between employers and their Service Members.

Learn more about Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve: www.esgr.mil

Tina Shaw
Regional Office - External Affairs

Last updated: June 6, 2017