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Deployed Guard Members, Reservists Get Show of Support

July 16, 2006 — In the midst of the hoopla surrounding the Navy League of the United States' convention on St. Thomas, the servicemen and women of the Virgin Islands quietly got a major boost Thursday evening when Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed a Statement of Support from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
A Department of Defense organization, ESGR provides free education, consultation and mediation if necessary for employers of guard members and reservists. ESGR's goal is to support America's employers who share their employees with the nation to ensure our national security.
"It is important that we support our men and women by showing them that while they are on the front lines, those of us that are left behind have not forgotten or forsaken them," Turnbull said. "This is just a small token of the esteem we have for them and their efforts," he added.
Turnbull was joined by Navy League Executive Director Steve Petropali, Navy League President John A. Panneton, Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen and Navy League of St. Thomas/St. John President Thomas Hoffman.
"The Coast Guard has the highest number of members and reservists being called back to duty during this mission," Allen said. "I can't tell you what it means to us to have ESGR out there watching our backs and making certain that our folks can come home to their civilian employments," he added.
The V.I. government and the Legislature recently took steps to ensure that the employees of the government who are deployed did not suffer any loss in pay during their deployments. All employees of the government who are deployed will receive a pay differential from the government for the entire length of their service.
Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. was the prime sponsor of the measure, which Gov. Turnbull signed into law upon its arrival at Government House. The V.I. Department of Labor, the V.I. Department of Personnel and Sen. White were presented ESGR Above and Beyond Awards on March 23 for their roles in creating and implementing the legislation.

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