On February 16, 2012 the OESD staff was honored in a ceremony and presented with the Patriot Award, presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Issued by the Department of Defenses division of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the award recognizes outstanding employers and employees who make an effort to support their military members by maintaining contact, employee recognition days, published leave policy, military leave benefits and participation in ESGR programs.
Mr. Gordon Jacobson, a 30 year Marine Corp Reservist, presented the award to Katy Absten and Wendy McComb, who accepted the award on behalf of the staff. The Olympic ESD staff was nominated to receive the award by Dan King, Math and Literacy Specialist, who was called to active duty Sept 1, 2010 and served in Kuwait until Sept 16, 2011. Dan has had numerous years in the service, having served eight years in the Coast Guard Reserves, six in the Army National Guard and six as an active duty Marine.
With the OESD board members present, Dr. Walt Bigby, Superintendent, and numerous staff members in attendance, Dan King spoke about what the how the ESD had helped him, by sending care packages, letters and cards. In addition to staff members sending messages and prayer, his department helped to fill in for his absence and the organization ensured there was a place for him upon his return from active duty. In speaking about what this meant to him, Dan says, "It meant a great deal. When you're that far from home it means a lot that people are rooting for you and letting you know they care. It really lifts the moral."
The Olympic ESD is glad to have Dan back and appreciates the dedication and sacrifice that others like Dan have given. We continue to keep our service members in our thoughts and hope that they'll return home safely. The Patriot Award given to the OESD staff has been framed and is currently hung in the Olympic ESD hallway.