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Staff Spend a Day With Air Force Reservists During Employer Awareness DayPosted Sept. 6, 2010
The engines of a C-130 Hercules roared to life, fire arms blazed as terrorists attacked and took hostages and flames shot into the blue sky and engulfed a building during a mock training scenario. Those were just a few of the sights and sounds that approximately 50 civilian employers of military reservists experienced during the recent 910th Airlift Wing's annual Employer Awareness Day.
Among the employers taking part was Kent State University, represented by Joe Vitale, director of talent management, compensation, training and development and employee relations; and Amelie Anderson, assistant to the vice president for human resources. They were invited to participate by their colleague, Pamela Fitzgerald, a special assistant with the Office of General Counsel and a master sergeant in the Air Force Reserves. The event took place at the Youngstown Air Reserve station in Vienna, Ohio.
The goal of the event was to increase the awareness civilian employers have of the important role Air Force Reservists play in defense of the United States. During the day, participants took an orientation plane ride over Niagara Falls in a C-130, viewed a modular air-spray system on the plane that was used after the recent oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, saw a firefighting demonstration and dined on MREs (meals ready to eat).
Fitzgerald has been a reservist for 22 years and is currently Inspector General Superintendent. She says the day is an excellent opportunity for employers to get a first-hand look at what their employees do in their military role. "Many times our bosses and co-workers know we are on duty one weekend a month and absent from the office for military training, but they don't know what we are doing during those times," says Fitzgerald.
Her colleagues agree, saying they came away from the day with a new sense of pride and respect for Fitzgerald and all those in the service. "I gained a new level of appreciation for the sacrifices the men and women in our armed services make. The operations we saw offer unique support for the rest of the military, from being deployed in the Gulf during the oil spill to security and fire support," says Vitale.
Anderson adds that she now has a better understanding of what our reservists do when they are at their "second jobs," and how well-prepared they are to respond quickly to an emergency situation.
Kent State is also supportive of its students who are in the military. The university was recently recognized for its service and outreach to veterans by being named a Military Friendly School for 2011 by G.I Jobs magazine. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.
Kent State was also on the Military Friendly Schools list last year, the first year it was published. Kent State University at Ashtabula and Kent State University at Tuscarawas also made this year's list.
By Carla Wyckoff