Reservist’s civilian employer nominated for top DoD award

  • Published
  • By James Bishop
  • 439th Airlift Wing

The civilian employer for a reservist here is a finalist for the highest award given by the DoD to civilian employers.

Senior Master Sgt. William Gelinas nominated Eversource Energy in Berlin, Conn., for the 2019 Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award.

“I nominated my employer at the tail end of last year for all of the phenomenal support they have provided during my deployments and time away for my military career,” Gelinas said.

In March, ESGR announced that Eversource was selected as one of 30 finalists to compete for the Freedom award.

The award is divided into three categories: small, medium and large companies, with Eversource being in the large category. The award is presented to five companies in each category for a total of 15 yearly awards -- this was narrowed down from 2,415 entries. 

If selected, a delegation of company leadership and members of Gelinas’ chain of command in the Air Force Reserve would be flown down to Washington, D.C. and presented the award.

In previous years, the Sectary of Defense has presented this award. Winners will be announced in June.

Gelinas said many of his employer’s leaders were once in the military and are keenly aware of the obligations of military members. On his last deployment, Gelinas’s co-workers coordinated hundreds of care packages and cards to send to his deployed squadron in Iraq. “One employee coordinated with several local agencies to donate laptops to some of our younger Airmen,” he said. “I would also receive emails almost daily from employees, supervisors and managers from around the company ensuring I had the things I needed or wanted.”

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the reserve components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between service members and their employers.