The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, last week honored Lt. Krissa Bliss, Lieutenant of Investigations for the Aurora-Marionville Police Department, with a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of its employees and family members of those that serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The “Patriot Award” ceremony was conducted during last Thursday's board of aldermen meeting in Marionville. Col. (Ret.) Steven Vanderhoof, Area 4 Chair for ESGR, officiated the award presentation ceremony. He explained the importance of the award and thanked the employer for providing jobs and support to Guard and Reserve members and their families. Cpt. Joe Carlile of the Missouri Army National Guard made the official presentation.

The City of Aurora was also recognized with an Above and Beyond award for its support of employees that are members of the National Guard and Reserve. The city provides employee benefits that are above and beyond those required by law. Mayor Dawn Oplinger and city manager Jon Holmes jointly accepted the award.

Lt. Bliss was nominated for being highly supportive of the military Reserve Component members and their families by James Wertz, a police officer for the department. Wertz is also a Staff Sergeant with the Company A, 935th Aviation Support Battalion and currently deployed.

Wertz expressed appreciation for the support provided by his supervisor, Lt. Bliss, and the police department. Their understanding and willingness to schedule around his military absences allows him to pursue his career in the National Guard. For their encouragement and support, he wanted them to recognized in in a formal award presentation ceremony.

According to Rear Admiral (Ret) Lee Metcalf, ESGR Missouri Chair, "The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation's call to serve. Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units."

As the 1.3 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions with America's borders and beyond, ESGR will continue to be the resource for the employers of citizen warriors. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws and resolves conflict between employers and service members. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities are available at, or by calling Steven Brothers at 573-638-9500 x7730.