U.S. Department of Defense presents awards to King County and DAJD
The Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) presented King County, the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD), and several County managers 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 “Freedom” Award by Senior Master Sergeant Michelle Helpenstell, a corrections officer with DAJD, who also serves in the Air Force Reserve.
The ceremony opened with the presentation of colors by King County’s Adult and Juvenile Detention Honor Guard followed by remarks by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Erik Campbell with King County Public Health.
“Offering medical coverage to spouses and dependents while I’m deployed, as well as affording me a job when I transition back to civilian life, lessens my anxiety while I’m away and empowers me with the opportunity to focus on the mission and welfare of my soldiers,” said Erik. “I know that I’m fortunate to work at King County and many Guard and Reserve component military members are not afforded the same opportunities.”
Several County managers were presented with the ESGR “Patriot” Award for the direct support they provide to their Guard and Reserve Employees. Among the recipients were Jane Simpson with Public Health, Meagan Condon with Public Health, and Ruoxi Zhang with King County Information Technology.
After, DAJD Deputy Director Hikari Tamura accepted the ESGR’s “Honors” award, which recognizes King County as one of 2,350 employers nominated nationwide for the prestigious Freedom Award – an important achievement. The award was presented to DAJD because it was a DAJD employee who submitted the nomination.
Although King County did not receive ESGR’s “Freedom” Award, Chief Operating Officer Casey Sixkiller accepted 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.
“As an employer, one of the largest in the state, we feel it is our duty to look at how we can help those who serve our nation access rewarding careers in our community,” Sixkiller said. “We know that those in the armed forces bring with them unique skills, ideas, and perspectives. Also, we know that these individuals have an overwhelming sense of service, and we want that here at King County.”
Sixkiller then presented challenge coins to Guard and Reserve members who were in attendance. Members who were unable to make it to the event will be awarded coins by their managers.
You can view the ceremony below or at this link.