U.S. Department of Defense to present awards to King County and DAJD 

The Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard (ESGR) will present King County and the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD) with awards, Nov. 8, in recognition of their support of County employees who currently serve in the Reserve and National Guard. King County was nominated for the award by Senior Master Sergeant Michelle Helpenstell, a corrections officer with DAJD, who also serves in the Reserve. 

“When I learned of the Freedom Award I immediately knew I needed to recognize those who have been so supportive to KC military members,” said Michelle. “King County gives us all our benefits while gone, including medical and dental coverage. I continue to earn my leave while gone, and they make up any pay difference.  I cannot tell you how much that alleviates stress on the family while we are gone. This allows me to concentrate on doing my military job and not having to worry about what is going on back home.

Although King County did not receive ESGR’s Freedom Award, Chief Operating Officer Casey Sixkiller will accept the “Above and Beyond” Award on behalf of King County. This award recognizes employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.  

“While deployed to Kandahar Afghanistan in 2014 my leadership emailed me on a regular basis, checking it to make sure I didn’t need anything,” said Michelle. “My co-workers are my work family, we take care of each other and have each other’s back.” 

DAJD Deputy Director Hikari Tamura will be accepting ESGR’s “Honors” Award, which recognizes King County as one of 2,350 employers nominated nationwide for the prestigious Freedom Award, which in and of itself is an important achievement. The award is presented to DAJD, because it was their employee who submitted the nomination. 

The event will also acknowledge the approximately 90 County employees who currently serve and present several County managers with the ESGR Patriot Award for the direct support they provide to their Guard and Reserve employees. 

The award ceremony is open to all County employees who want to show their support of their fellow employees who currently serve or have served in the U.S. military.  

For more information on the event and registration information click here.

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