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Zone 7 recognized for going 'above and beyond' to support military reserve members

Water agency nominated by Army Reservist employee for prestigious DOD award

Zone 7 Water Agency has been recognized by the Department of Defense (DOD) for outstanding support of their military reserve service members in the workplace.

The agency was one of only 40 employers statewide recognized by the DOD.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a program within the DOD that champions greater understanding and cooperation between Reserve employees and civilian employers, presented Zone 7 with the distinguished “Above and Beyond Award” at the June 19 board meeting.

“The ESGR Above and Beyond Award was created to publicly recognize U.S. employers providing extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Jim Combs, California ESGR state chair. “Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

The award is given to employers who “have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.” Only employers that demonstrate support for National Guard and Reserve employees by providing non-mandated benefits like extended health benefits and differential or full pay to offset lost wages, have at least one supervisor or manager recognized with a Patriot Award, and have signed or intend to sign a statement of support, are eligible for the prestigious honor.

In 2018, Zone 7 first received the Patriot Award, which celebrates individuals for their exceptional support of their Reserve employees. Principal engineer Joe Seto, who also supervises assistant engineer Andy Chamberlain, a current Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer 2, was presented with the award. Chamberlain nominated both Seto and Zone 7 for their awards.

“I nominated Zone 7 because the agency supports me and my fellow Reservists with an excellent military leave policy, full reintegration into staff roles and projects following periods of leave, and continued acknowledgment on project teams during those periods,” Chamberlain said in a statement. “This provides peace of mind and allows us to focus on our military commitments when we are training or if we are called to active duty.”

Zone 7’s own infrastructure has roots in Tri-Valley’s military heritage; the former Camp Parks well fields now make up a key fixture of the agency’s water supply system. Board of Directors Vice President Sandy Figuers called it an honor to “play a part in supporting the defense of our great nation.”

“In accepting this award, Zone 7 reaffirms its commitment to supporting the service members who continue this heritage of military service,” Figuers said. “On behalf of Zone 7 and my fellow board members, I want to express how honored we are to maintain that heritage and to play a part in supporting the defense of our great nation.”

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