Briefing the Boss – Coast Guard Hosts Employer Outreach Program

by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kelly Parker

Seattle – The employer outreach program, Boss-Lift, came to Coast Guard Sector Seattle Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008, to allow employers of guard and reserve members to experience a day in the life of a Coast Guardsman. They were given a tour of the base and a boat ride around Elliot Bay aboard a 41-foot utility boat and a 25-foot port security boat.

The Boss-Lift is a yearly event that educates employers and gives the military an opportunity to share with them what they do and why they do it by bringing them to military installations.

“You get to see the various pieces of equipment that’s used and get an understanding of what the missions are like,” said Richard Lucero, an employer of an Army National Guard soldier, who attended this year’s Boss-Lift. “You just get a feel for the environment.”

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) makes it possible for Boss-Lift to happen and was created in 1972, stating that they “promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.”

There are currently 70 ESGR volunteers throughout Washington State who are dedicated to assist these young men and women, and make sure their jobs and benefits are here when they return from their deployment. One of these volunteers is Bob DeWald, ESGR King County Committee member, who gives a unique insight about how he first became aware of ESGR.

“I was asked to assist a friend of mine, whose son recently returned from Iraq and was having problems getting his job and benefits back. We contacted ESGR and they were very helpful. The situation was resolved in less than two weeks and while we we’re involved with ESGR and that issue they asked us both to be volunteers. We thought this was a worthwhile organization, so we both joined about three years ago.”

“To know that support is there is very beneficial for us,” said Lucero. “We know who to contact now in the event that we have any questions and vice-versa … if they ever need to contact us.”

It’s not uncommon for a guard or reservist member to have a drastically different job as a civilian compared to the one they perform in the military. Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Toledo is a heavy equipment mechanic, but then puts on his Coast Guard uniform and transforms himself into a tactical coxswain for Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Tacoma, Wash. Toledo participated in the Boss-Lift event this year and said that he hopes even more employers of the guard and reserve will participate in the future.

“I like the fact that I know we’re performing a much needed task,” said DeWald. “I know the work we do is appreciated by both the employer and the employee. I get a great sense of satisfaction out of helping.”

Through Boss-Lift, the military is able to show their support and appreciation to employers who are showing their support to these guard and reservist. They help these brave men and women by letting them know that when they return from defending our country, the only thing they should have to worry about is the location of their next family vacation.

More information on the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve can be found at http://www.esgr.net/.

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