By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2011 – Civilian spouses of Reserve and National Guard members often must rely on the flexibility and support of their employers, particularly during deployments.
While most employers will grant a time-off request and, in some cases, a shift change for their spouse employees, others go above and beyond in their support. They may arrange for the family’s lawn care during a deployment, send care packages overseas, or create telework agreements so parents can be at home more with their kids.
In the past, a thank-you note or email would have to suffice. But now, a Defense Department program is offering spouses a more visible way to express their gratitude.
The Spouse Patriot Award, established by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve agency, honors extraordinarily supportive employers of reserve spouses. Initially open only to employers of National Guard and Reserve members, the Patriot Award program expanded earlier this year to include their spouses.
“We had so many spouses asking us to expand the program, so we did last year,” said Beth Sherman, ESGR spokeswoman. “Little attention was being paid to the employers of their spouses, who also were doing their part.”
The program is open to all National Guard and Reserve spouses. To submit a nomination, visit the ESGR website and fill out the spouse nomination form.
For more on this program and employers’ contributions, read my American Forces Press Service article, “Patriot Award Honors Outstanding Spouse Employers.”