Congratulations to Melissa Craten, the program coordinator at Talbot Hall in Kearny, New Jersey, who is a recipient of the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve of the United States Department of Defense. Mary Tosline, ESGR area chair for Hudson County came to the residential reentry facility to bestow the award to Ms. Craten in July at a special awards ceremony.
The award acknowledges employers and managers who support employees that serve in the military. Eric Munoz, program counselor at Talbot Hall, who is a member of the Army National Guard currently deployed on active duty, nominated Ms. Craten.
“The Patriot Award is given to employers who meet the criteria based on their support for employees actively engaged in military service,” Mary Tosline, ESGR area chair, said. “ESGR chooses to award employers like GEO and Ms. Craten who secure the opportunity for Mr. Munoz to go and serve, protecting us all.”
Mr. Munoz stated in his nomination that his supervisor has been very supportive of his service, and respectful when it comes to scheduling changes for drill dates and training.
“We are proud to support Mr. Munoz in his military service, and we are supportive of the challenges of managing jobs, family, and service to our country,” Richard McCourt, GEO Reentry senior area manager of the northeast, said. “Mr. Munoz is a valued employee, and we are honored to have him be part of our staff at Talbot Hall.”
Ms. Craten supervises the Serenity Unit, where Mr. Munoz is assigned. She understands the difficulty of maintaining a job while in active service and is holding the position for his return. While accepting her award, she wanted staff from the unit to be present, and expressed her gratitude to them for their hard work in the absence of Mr. Munoz.
“I am so honored and humbled to receive the Patriot Award,” an emotional Ms. Craten said. “I wanted the staff of the Serenity Unit to be here so I can thank them for their hard work. I want them to know they are appreciated. They never complain — they are absolutely a great team.”
Ms. Craten was honored with the Patriot Award that came in the form of a certificate and lapel pin. Awards are granted by county and nationally as a way to acknowledge managers and organizations who are supportive of their reservist and guardspeople employees.