PHOTO CAPTION: Armstrong President Dr. Linda M. Bleicken, left, recently signed an official Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, demonstrating Armstrong’s continued advocacy of employee participation in the military, as U.S. Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter and Ret. Col. Ed Wexler of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve looked on (l-r).
(December 16, 2016) – On Dec. 15, Col. Ed Wexler, Ret. U.S. Air Force, of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the U.S. Department of Defense, presented Patriot Awards to Delana Gajdosik-Nivens, Ph.D., interim dean of Armstrong’s College of Science and Technology, and Wayne R. Willcox, chief of police at Armstrong. U.S. Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter attended the ceremony and addressed the audience in attendance.
“The Patriot Award comes from the Secretary of Defense and recognizes an individual, in this case Dr. Nivens and Chief Willcox, as patriotic employers,” explained Wexler. “They are being honored today for contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting the men and women in our National Guard and Reserve.”
The ESGR advocates for working Guard members and Reservists, and educates employers, particularly when service members are called upon to defend their country during deployments. Scott Scheidt, director of Armstrong’s Center for Applied Cyber Education, and a lieutenant colonel in the Georgia Army National Guard, nominated Nivens and Willcox for demonstrating unwavering support and outstanding dedication to the military community at Armstrong.
“On campus, I have been able to work very closely with these two individuals and to experience the support that they give to Guard members and Reservists,” said Scheidt. “Whether it’s receiving advice or mentorship from Chief Willcox or support from Dr. Nivens and the university, they both ensure that students, faculty and staff in the Guard or Reserves have the opportunity to be successful in both of those worlds.”
In addition to recognizing Nivens and Willcox, Wexler invited Armstrong President Linda M. Bleicken to sign an official Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, demonstrating Armstrong’s continued advocacy for employee participation in the military.
“Armstrong has a history of supporting not only our active duty military, but also our Guardsmen and Reservists,” said Bleicken. “Both Dr. Nivens and Chief Willcox have been long-term employees here at Armstrong, and each of them has a history of service, not simply to our students but to all who require special consideration.”
Wexler gave lapel pins to Bleicken, Willcox, Nivens and Scheidt for their support of the ESGR. Congressman Carter closed the ceremony with thanks to all parties involved.
“We are very blessed in the 1st Congressional District and throughout our nation to have great volunteer groups that help our military, and that’s very important,” he said. “We appreciate you, we appreciate your service and thank you.”
The ESGR represents nearly half of the U.S. military force and is supported by more than 4,600 volunteers and support staff throughout the nation and its territories. Both the Patriot Award and Statement of Support Program are cornerstones of the mission to gain and maintain employer support for the National Guard and Reserve.