PHOTO: From left to right Brig.Gen. R. Van McCarty, Assistant Adjunct General – Army, South Carolina National Guard; Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone; Assistant Solicitor Kelvin Wright and SCESGR State Chair Eli Wishart
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Solicitor Duffie Stone and the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office were honored this week with the Above and Beyond Award from the South Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (SC ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, for extraordinary support of its employee who serves in the South Carolina Army National Guard.
The ESGR Above and Beyond Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize American employers providing extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve, said Eli Wishart, SC ESGR state chair. Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.
Assistant Solicitor Kelvin Wright, a Colleton County native, served as a captain in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps with the S.C. Army National Guard’s 351st Aviation Support Battalion. He served for a year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq.
Wright is currently assigned as a JAG officer with the 59th Aviation Brigade here in South Carolina.
“I believe Solicitor Stone went above and beyond what most employers have to do,” Wright said. “He helped to contribute to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting my efforts.”
Stone and the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office join thousands of American employers who have reviewed and amended their current human resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Many employers provide support far beyond what USERRA requires to include pay differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits which complement coverage provided by the military when their employees are mobilized.
“It is extremely important to support those who make sacrifices for us on a daily basis, both in and out of the courtroom,” Stone said. “Kelvin Wright is one of six reservists, guardsmen or veterans who work in our office and continue to serve in more ways than one. We are honored to have them as an integral part of our prosecutorial team.”
The Solicitor’s Office has expanded its programs to reach those who have served in our Armed Forces through its Veterans Treatment Court. The multi-disciplinary court aims to support veterans who have had brushes with the criminal justice system, yet suffer from combat-related mental illness or substance abuse issues.
ESGR seeks to foster 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. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employer’s principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR’s mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.