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    Employer support enables success

    Employer support enables success

    Courtesy Photo | Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, the Adjutant General of Florida, presents the ESGR Patriot...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Christopher Milbrodt 

    Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office

    SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- For many Guardsmen, balancing a civilian job with a military career can be difficult and stressful. If they hold leadership positions in either or both, it can be even worse. Part of the stress can be attributed to the fact that those employees can be afraid of losing opportunities or even their job by pursuing military success and advancement.

    This fear has never been present in at least one Florida Guardsman, because his employer has made a commitment to supporting him no matter what.
    Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, The Adjutant General of Florida, recently awarded the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award to Larry Pham, a pharmacy manager with Costco, for his continued commitment and outstanding support to the Florida National Guard. While ESGR has presented the Patriot Award to many outstanding employers over the years, Calhoun is the first general officer to give his employer the award.

    According to the ESGR award criteria, an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

    Calhoun began working for Costco in 2000 as a pharmacy manager and due to career decisions, left Costco in 2003. In 2007 however, he returned to Costco once again as a pharmacist, this time in a per diem employee status. An employee in per diem status is one who fills the gaps in schedules when another employee calls out or is on vacation.

    “Costco welcomed me back like family with open arms when I returned in 2007,” said Calhoun. “They have kept a space for me no matter what has come up through my military career and their loyalty has allowed me to achieve something far bigger than myself.”

    One of the challenges of the traditional Guardsman is achieving military career goals while maintaining a civilian job and a personal life. While everyone aspires to reach their goals within their military careers, not all employers offer the support and flexibility to do so.
    According to Calhoun, Costco has provided him with more than ten years of unwavering support.

    “I would not have been able to excel in my military career if it was not for Costco and the support they have given me,” said Calhoun. “They have allowed me to pursue and achieve the highest levels without the fear and uncertainty of losing my job.”

    During his tenure with Costco, Calhoun has gone from a company commander to becoming the adjutant general. He graduated from the Army War College, as well as performed his military duty in Korea, Japan and the Ukraine.

    “They could have gotten someone else to do the job at any time over the years – someone who was more available and able to be there any time they called – but they have chosen to support me,” said Calhoun. “I can’t begin to express my gratitude.”



    Date Taken: 02.11.2016
    Date Posted: 02.12.2016 23:23
    Story ID: 188794

    Web Views: 362
    Downloads: 1