"Going above and beyond." That's what Americans see U.S. National Guard and Reserve members doing every day in support of the nation. It's also what Guard and Reserve members see LG&E and KU doing in support of their service and in support of transitioning veterans into the company's workforce.
A sixth company employee, Team Leader – Gas Distribution Hollis Bridgewater, recently received the prestigious U.S. Department of Defense's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for exemplifying this commitment through his support of Craig Evans, a gas trouble technician who serves in the Indiana National Guard.
The Patriot Award is presented by the ESGR to a manager or supervisor who is committed to assisting an individual in the military. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.
Bridgewater "goes above and beyond for his employees that are current and former military," Evans wrote in the Patriot Award nomination form. "His actions speak volumes toward the veteran community."
Bridgewater received the award at a surprise ceremony at the East Operations Center in Louisville on July 11 attended by Evans; Bridgewater's wife, senior contract coordinator Tina Bridgewater; representatives of ESGR, including retired employees Vicki Kupper and John Laughlin; Director of Gas Operations, Construction and Engineering Tom Rieth; Manager of Gas Operations Paul Stratman; and members of the company’s internal resource team, Armed Forces Energy Professionals.
In accepting the award, Bridgewater, himself a military veteran, was clearly moved by the recognition. But he reminded attendees at the award ceremony that many American military service personnel and veterans still need support from their employers. "This award is very nice," he said. "But I know how hard it is to be in the Guard when you don't have the level of support we provide today. That's why I do everything I can to support Craig and encourage everyone else to do so, too."
Strong commitment to military personnel
Bridgewater's Patriot Award is the most recent of several honors from ESGR. In May, the company was one of two local organizations to receive the Pro Patria Award. LG&E and KU's nomination was based on strong support for ESGR, including the recent Statement of Support for the ESGR signed by President and Chief Operating Officer Paul W. Thompson in 2016, and five other Patriot Awards received by: Director of Generation Project Development Mike Kirkland, (2015); Manager of Business Services Paul Weis,(2015); and operations crew supervisors Tony Anderson, Phil Holt and Tom Adams (2016).
ESGR, a Department of Defense office, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers. ESGR has served the country for more than 40 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States.