The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee held an employer recognition luncheon on Tuesday, July 20, at Grecian Steakhouse, for employers who have shown their support for the Guard and Reserve.

During the luncheon, Upper Cumberland ESGR Committee Chair Nancy Blanchard recognized the importance of employers who are supportive of military men and women who have chosen to serve their country.

Guest speaker Colonel Many-Bears Grinder of the Tennessee National Guard shared her experiences in Afghanistan with those in attendance, citing the severity of water and air conditions in the third poorest country in the world and sharing some of her stories regarding the way of life of Afghanistan women.

Local guardsmen Staff Sergeant Bill Burgess and Sergeant Chad Dickens, both of the 278th  Armored Calvary Regiment, were ESGR’s distinguished guests during the luncheon. Both men have recently returned home from their deployment in Iraq.

ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between servicemen and women and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts that may arise from an employee’s military commitment.

The volunteer organization operates through a network of more than 6,000 members throughout 55 committees with a mission to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflicts through mediation.

“The defense of this Nation depends on those willing to serve and those willing to support that service,” Blanchard said as the meeting adjourned.