The South Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) awarded Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) the Seven Seals Award. The award was a recognition for their leadership and support of men and women who serve in the National Guard or Military Reserve.
Seven Seals Awardee
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program by the Department of Defense aimed to develop and promote “supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws.” They also help resolve conflicts between service members and employers if issues arise that need intervention.
The award was accepted by Lt. Jason Cain and Sheriff Kristin Graziano during a luncheon in North Charleston. Graziano expressed said,
“We are a proud employer of over a dozen Guardsmen and Reservists who serve our community with a mission of ‘Service Beyond the Call.“
As described by ESGR, the Seven Seals Award is “the broadest and most inclusive award” given by the program, which is presented to individuals or organizations that promote the mission “to include the efforts of the more than 3,600 volunteers who carry out ESGR’s mission across the Nation on a daily basis.”
Apart from the award they received, CCSO might also receive another ESGR award, the 2022 Freedom Award. It is the highest national recognition from the Department of Defense, which recognizes organizations that support employees who stay in service in the Guard and Reserve.
According to DoD’s press release, “Service members can nominate large and small employers from a broad cross-section of America, including health, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, banking, service, and security, as well as from federal, state and local government agencies.”
Sheriff Graziano has also expressed her appreciation for being part of the Freedom Award finalist. She said on behalf of CCSO,
“We believe that our agency itself fulfills this mission of service by supporting our Guardsmen and Reservists, and their families, when they are called to serve and protect our nation. CCSO hopes that this inspires other businesses and agencies to uphold the same values and strengthen their commitment to those who sacrifice so much for us all.”
Charleston County is the third-most populous and the seventh-largest county in South Carolina. According to its website, the latest US Census reports its population is 365,209 in an area of 916.0 square miles. This makes South Carolina Sheriff’s Office one of the state’s largest full-service law enforcement agencies that have been in existence since 1682.
Furthermore, they wrote that they are “internationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the American Corrections Association, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care reflecting the commitment of the Sheriff’s Office to continually improve the quality of law enforcement service provided to the citizens of Charleston County.”
CCSO has over 900 people employed, with Sheriff Graziano being the elected Sheriff of Charleston County in 2020, who oversees a budget of more than $84 million.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve has been around since 1972 to “promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.” The program is supported by 3,000 volunteers from over 50 states and distributed in 54 committees.
According to its website, ESGR’s volunteers vary from small businesses and industries, government, education, and prior military service, all sharing their experiences in serving employers, Service members, and their families and making sure that support is provided for the military service in the Guard and Reserve.
Currently, ESGR has another ongoing voting process for the Patriot Award, this time for “supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for the support provided directly to the nominator.”