Boss Lift 2014 “win-win” for employers, troops

Story by Spc. Lerone Simmons 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

140728-Z-IB888-118

Civilian bosses of Kentucky National Guard Service members talk with a Soldier at the 138th Fires Brigade Command Post, as part of the annual Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve “boss lift” event at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, Greenville, Ky., 28 July, 2014. The boss lift is an event that allows civilian bosses to experience a day in the life of a Kentucky National Guard Service member and give more insight on what the their employees do in the military world. (National Guard photo by Army Spc. Lerone Simmons 133rd MPAD)

GREENVILLE, Ky. – Each time a Kentucky National Guardsman is activated, an employer is left to fill a vacant spot on the assembly line, at the office or behind the wheel. Recognizing the sacrifice employers make, and the impact a Guardsman has on their business, The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve promotes cooperation between reserve components and civilian employers to foster better long-standing relationships.

140728-Z-IB888-125

Civilian Employers engage with a Virtual Range Fire program with the Engagement Skill Trainer (EST) with the assistance of several Soldiers while at the annual Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve “boss lift” event at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, Greenville, Ky., 28 July, 2014. The boss lift allows civilian employers to experience a day in the life of a Kentucky National Guard Service member. (National Guard photo by Army Spc. Lerone Simmons 133rd MPAD)

“As employers, you have to learn to appreciate and understand your military employees,” said Eric Leef, a human resources manager with the Louisville-based General Electric.

“When a Soldier makes that initial commitment to serve, they embark on a path filled with training and dedication which can also benefit any privately owned business,” he said, adding “they know how to get the job done.”

Maj. Jonathan Gocke, fire support officer for the Kentucky Army Guard’s 138th Fires Brigade and parts fulfillment planner for GE, nominated Leef for the ESGR Boss Lift, a program that exposes employers to a day-in-life of a Soldier or Airman. Leef and 15 other employers descended onto the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center July 28, via Kentucky National Guard UH-60 Blackhawks, to see what a Soldier does during the one weekend-a month, and two-weeks out of the year.

Click here for more photos of this event.

140728-Z-IB888-120

Tina Hammons, director of consumer sales, smiles while she poses in a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System as Rosemary Miller, program support technician, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, takes her picture during an annual “boss lift” event at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, Greenville, Ky., 28 July, 2014. The boss lift allows civilian bosses to experience a day in the life of a Kentucky National Guard Service member. (National Guard photo by Army Spc. Lerone Simmons 133rd MPAD)

“The boss lift shows them another side of their employee, and also how important the role of the employer is to the entire National Guard,” Gocke said. “GE having a presence here, it shows that they care about their employees.”

The day began with a flight from the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, or the Louisville Air Guard Base. Once landed at WHFRTC, the bosses received a welcome briefing by leadership, and joined in with the 138th Fires Brigade’s Command Post for an annual training exercise. The employers fell in on the fires company and received a closer look at at the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The bosses geared up and engaged in a Virtual Range Fire program with the Engagement Skill Trainer (EST) and toured the live firing ranges before their mission was complete and they departed in Blackhawks.

“The civilian bosses of National Guard Service members get to see what our Service members do while getting the opportunity to participate themselves,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert S. Silverthorn, state chairman, Kentucky ESGR committee.

“The boss lift gives the employers the opportunity to see their employees perform duties as a member of the United States Military,” he said.

It’s a win-win for the employee and employer, Gocke said.

“Without employer support, our job would be very difficult, so I’m grateful for ESGR and their role with the boss lift, because it helps maximize the employer employee relationship,” Gocke said. And, he said, “it’s pretty hard to beat a Blackhawk ride. It’s definitely not something you see or do every day.”

About kentuckyguard