138th Communications Flight Recognizes Employer Support

Major Ginger Turcotte, 138th Communication Flight Commander along with Staff Sergeant Jon Russell (left) presents Mr. Randall Popp, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, with an F-16 lithograph from the 138th Fighter Wing,  during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014.  The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment.  ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Major Ginger Turcotte, 138th Communication Flight Commander along with Staff Sergeant Jon Russell (left) presents Mr. Randall Popp, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, with an F-16 lithograph from the 138th Fighter Wing, during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014. The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment. ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Mr. Randall Popp (left), Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, displays his employer support certificate and F-16 lithograph from the 138th Fighter Wing along with Staff Sergeant Jon Russell,  during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014.  The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment.  ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Mr. Randall Popp (left), Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, displays his employer support certificate and F-16 lithograph from the 138th Fighter Wing along with Staff Sergeant Jon Russell, during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014. The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment. ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Major Ginger Turcotte, 138th Communication Flight Commander listens to Staff Sergeant Jon Russell (left) as he expresses his gratitude for  Mr. Randall Popp, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014.  The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment.  ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Major Ginger Turcotte, 138th Communication Flight Commander listens to Staff Sergeant Jon Russell (left) as he expresses his gratitude for Mr. Randall Popp, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Information Technology Department, during an employer support ceremony at the OSU-Tulsa campus, , 30 April, 2014. The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) ceremony was in recognition of OSU's outstanding support of Staff Sgt. Russell during a recent deployment. ( U.S. National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Joshua Schell/Released)

Oklahoma Air National Guard, Tulsa, Okla -- Much has been said about the sacrifices service men and women make to their country through long deployments away from home. In recent years, similar attention has been paid to families left behind, who have to deal with home life while their loved ones are away. But, rarely do you hear of the civilian employer, in the case of National Guard and Reserve members, who has to work around temporarily losing a worker for potentially up to a year at a time.

On April 30th 2014, a ceremony was held for one such employer in Tulsa, OK. Randall Popp of Oklahoma State University - Tulsa's Information Technology department, was presented with an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) award from Major Ginger Turcotte, 138th Communications Flight Commander. Popp is the civilian supervisor of Staff Sgt Jon Russell, Cyber Transport Craftsman with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. In the fall of 2012, SSgt Russell was deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, for six months, after only being employed at OSU-Tulsa for seven months. Mr. Popp explained, "This cut the telecommunications shop in half, since it is only two deep".

SSgt Russell expressed his gratitude while speaking about how understanding his civilian leadership was when he informed them of his upcoming mobilization. "I work for a great organization and the support I was given before and during my deployment was phenomenal. I couldn't ask for a better place to work," stated Russell.

ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives; recognizing outstanding employer support; increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies; resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members; and acting as the employers' principal advocate within DoD.