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By Capt. Cody Stagner, photos by Andrew Dickson,
Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Haldane B. Lamberton, Kentucky's adjutant general, and retired Brig. Gen. Mike Richie, the Kentucky ESGR committee’s state chairman, addressed business and civic leaders during the 2023 Leadership KY Conference hosted in Frankfort on Dec. 14, 2023.
Their dual purpose was to highlight the Kentucky National Guard's roles and express the importance of supporting troops.
“The Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians who work with us number about 8,600,” said Lamberton. “Of those, about 2,000 of them are full-time. The rest are what we refer to as part time Guardsmen or drill status Guardsmen. They're the folks who work in your communities and may be summoned to your businesses and organizations. Then, on the weekend, they are called to do their military responsibilities.”
He emphasized the value of employing citizen-soldiers in their communities and the crucial support these Soldiers need from employers while on duty.
Lamberton also spoke to the group about the Kentucky National Guard’s State Partnership Program and the extension of influence their employees may have on the world stage.
The KYNG has partnerships with Ecuador and Djibouti.
According to Lamberton, this global presence not only highlights the capabilities of the KYNG but also emphasizes the importance of backing Kentucky’s service members.
“The contributions of our Soldiers and Airmen reach well beyond our local communities, influencing international relations and contributing to global stability,” the leader of the Kentucky Guard said. “Therefore, supporting them is not just a local investment but also a contribution to our global standing and security."
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program, plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between service members and their civilian employers.
“ESGR's mission is to develop and promote supportive work environments for Guardsmen through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities," said Richie. "Our goal is to ensure that the men and women who serve our nation can effectively manage their civilian careers while fulfilling their military duties."
According to the ESGR committee vice chairman, retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Gipe, ESGR’s initiatives provide education to employers about the legal rights and responsibilities of employing Guardsmen and Reservists and assist in resolving conflicts that may arise from an employee's military commitment.
Additionally, the program recognizes employers who go above and beyond in supporting their military employees.
“Bringing together executive and civic leaders for conferences like the one held at the Boone National Guard Center are instrumental in fostering a collaborative environment among leaders and current or future employers of Kentucky Guardsmen,” said Gipe. “Such interactions are essential for developing strategies that support the dual-role of citizen-Soldiers, ensuring they can serve their country without sacrificing their civilian careers and livelihoods.”
For more information regarding ESGR or to request assistance, visit www.ESGR.mil or call Mike Richie at 317-418-5143.
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