Written by Lee Kirby, Co-Founder & Chairman of Salute Mission Critical
Welcome Home Devon Russell!!! Devon recently completed a one- year deployment to the Horn of Africa with the 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment (First Arkansas). Devon serves as an Infantryman (11B) in Charlie Company (Mena). Devon had been with Salute for nearly a year, when he was recalled to active duty and he proudly served while his family waited anxiously for his safe return. His integration back into Salute has gone predictably smooth as there was never any question in our mind about planning for his absence and reintegration.
Unfortunately, many employers think of this as a burden and not an opportunity to support men and women willing to sacrifice for our freedoms. After 9/11, I was recalled several times ultimately serving 6 more years on active duty before retiring. Fortunately, I had an established career in the data center industry but many of those I served with were not so lucky. They found out the hard way that there are loop holes in any rule and employers had learned quickly how to skirt around the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. Rather than coming back to their old position and reintegrating they would find their jobs had been “restructured” and either eliminated or changed to a much-reduced function.
Employers who do not embrace the program principles of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (www.esgr.mil) are ignoring the value that veterans bring to the work force. They are totally missing the fact that a returning veteran has spent a year in a most extreme environment and will be able to bring even greater skills and experience back to their jobs. An employer who attracts and retains members of the Guard and Reserve reaps this benefit every year as additional training and experience is gained outside of the normal job. Instead of “avoiding a burden”, the smart employer embraces the opportunity and plans for the demands that members of the Guard and Reserve must meet and watches as they grow within their company and all involved will benefit from the experience.
We are proud of our all our veterans and recognize our Warrior Citizens for their continued service!
11B (Infantry) MOS
1-153 Charlie Company (Mena)