Employers observe a day in the life of a Guardsman

1st Lt. Jacob Farmer, Spc. Kenneth Bird, and Spc. Thomas Ferreira from Det 1 Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1-149th Infantry Battalion, out of Williamsburg, KY, demonstrated how to fire a mortar round for Kentucky employers during the 2018 “Boss Lift” at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. June 8, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. John Stephens)

By Spc. John Stephens, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Edinburgh, In. – Employers from around the Commonwealth arrived at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Indiana on UH-60 Blackhawks to take part in the Employee Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Boss Lift, June 8, 2018.

To see all the photos of this event, please click HERE.

The Kentucky ESGR program provides the opportunity for civilian employers to interact with Kentucky National Guardsmen during their annual training.

“We appreciate that you share your employees with us,” said ESGR State Chair, Phil Miller. “The main takeaway is these people are Citizen-Soldiers. This small amount of training needs to get these Guardsmen on the same level as their active duty counterparts. That’s why this is so important.”

This year, the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade transported 27 civilian employers to observe Soldier’s squad level training phase. Maj. Jason Penn, executive officer for the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, acted as the Officer in Charge and tour guide for the event.

“The Boss Lift is a way for employers and their Soldiers to come together,” said Penn. “The National Guard cannot have stability without the support of the employers. The skills the Soldiers learn on the military side can aid and benefit their civilian career.”

Many of the employers spoke of how mature Kentucky National Guardsmen were when compared to similar aged civilian employees. The employee’s selfless service and leadership are key factors in the success of many of these Kentucky businesses. Doug Kimbler is Superintendent of Treatment Plants at Bowling Green Municipal Utilities (BGMU). He acknowledged that his office is a better place because of the Kentucky Guardsman he employs.

“It amazes me how his leadership skills continue to grow with the aid of the Kentucky National Guard,” said Kimbler. “He continues to be a great leader.”

This is in keeping with BGMU’s mission of “improving customers’ quality of life” and is demonstrated by the organization’s service to the community. Kimbler was nominated by Command Sgt. Maj. Benzie Timberlake, the 1-149th Chief Information Security Officer. Timberlake was excited to have his 20 year-long employer there to demonstrate his gratitude for being flexible throughout his National Guard career.

“I wouldn’t be able to be successful in the National Guard without the unwavering support of my employer,” said Timberlake.

After watching several on-hand examples of how detailed and quick tasks must be performed, Boss Lift participants were given the opportunity to interact with the Soldiers and enter a HUMVEE with a crow’s nest.

Each year, ESGR looks at the yearly training being conducted by National Guard and Reserve component units and the State Chairman coordinates with the leadership to see which one would best benefit from an ESGR Boss Lift. Once a unit has been selected the service members are given the opportunity to invite their employers to participate in a day of observing all types of training conducted by them (the employee) during Annual Training.

“I think this year’s Boss Lift was a great success, said ESGR Volunteer Support Tech,” Tim Stinnett. “The employers always take away a different perspective of our service member’s abilities. They see a whole other set of skills they possess that can be used in the civilian workforce every day.”

Employers from across the Commonwealth participated in an Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve “Boss lift” day at Camp Atterbury, Ind. June 8, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. John Stephens)