GSA Ceremony in Support of National Guard and Reserve
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you very much for being here for this important signing ceremony that reaffirms GSA’s commitment to continue our strong support of our Nation’s National Guard And Reserve.
I’d like to begin today’s program by commending Bobby Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the National Committee for Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, and his team for the important work they do to enable guard and reserve members to serve their country while having their non-military employment, benefits and rights protected.
I also want to acknowledge GSA’s Acting Chief of Staff, Ed Fielder, who, very importantly for this ceremony, is a proud United States Marine.
Our GSA audio-video technology team worked very hard to set up an audio call to Sgt. Randy Beers live from Iraq. Sgt. Beers has been in Iraq since mid-May and is serving now as a tank commander on an assignment just south of Baghdad. We learned this morning that unfortunately we will not be able to put that call through due to situation in the area. We know that Sgt. Beers and his unit are fine; however we won’t be able to talk with him today.
Fortunately, we will be able to talk to Randy’s family in Atlanta through a video link. Before we start the call, I want to mention that today, GSA will sign a Statement of Support pledging our continued support of members of the guard and reserve, including those like Sgt. Randy Beers who are called to active duty to protect and defend the freedom, democracy and national security that each one of us enjoy.
By signing this Statement of Support, we pledge that:
- Employment will not be denied – and career opportunities will not be limited or reduced – because of service in the National Guard or Reserve;
- We also pledge that GSA associates will be granted leaves of absence for military training in the Guard and Reserve, consistent with existing laws, without sacrificing their vacation allowance;
This Statement of Support will posted and publicized throughout our agency.
GSA is proud to sign today’s Statement of Support, recognizing the validity of President Bush’s statement that, “America depends on the strength and sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve. And they depend on and deserve the support of their employers.”
At GSA we are very proud of all of our associates who are serving alongside Sgt. Beers and we look forward to their safe return home to their families and friends and to having them resume their careers at GSA.
We are also proud of the fact that GSA supports our country’s men and women in military uniform in many ways. One example is the “GSA Cares” program initiated by the Southeast-Sunbelt Region, based in Atlanta.
This program encourages various expressions of support for associates called up for active military duty, including:
- A personal letter from the Regional Administrator;
- GSA associates in the region are encouraged to "adopt" the family of an associate activated for military service. The "adopt a family” program includes: maintaining contact with activated associates and their families, and providing assistance such as yard maintenance, baby sitting, and other assistance to the families.
We thank our Southeast-Sunbelt Region associates for developing the “GSA Cares” program and helping to make GSA one of the few federal agencies to earn five-star recognition from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
We strongly encourage all our regions to support the Guard and Reserve by having programs such as the “GSA Cares” program.
At this time, I would like to call on the Southeast-Sunbelt Region, Senior Advisor, Dennis Dorsey, to receive a special award on behalf of all who participate in the Southeast-Sunbelt Region’s “GSA Cares” program.
Thank you, Dennis. I’m certain that the support provided by the Southeast-Sunbelt Region associates is truly appreciated by our men and women serving in the Guard and Reserve and their families.
At this point, I will begin our phone conversation with Sgt. Beers’ family and others in Atlanta. So, I will ask Bobby Hollingsworth to please join me at the podium.
In Atlanta we have:
- Randy’s wife, Susan, and their 22-month old daughter Emily.
- We also have Colonel Greg Edwards, Deputy Commander, 78th Troop Command, Georgia National Guard Bureau;
- Major General Tom Wessels (retired), Chairman of the Georgia Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve;
- GSA Acting Regional Administrator Jimmy Bridgeman, and many of Randy’s fellow GSA associates.
Mrs. Beers, we’re of course sorry that we were not able to place the call to your husband. However, we are delighted to have this opportunity to tell you and little Emily how much we appreciate his service and the sacrifices that both he and the Beers family is making on behalf of our country.
We understand that you and Randy celebrated your sixth wedding anniversary last Sunday, so we want to offer our congratulations. I know that it must be particularly hard to be apart when anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions come around. Let me say again that we all admire and appreciate the sacrifices that you and other spouses have made while your loved ones are serving on active duty.
We’re also very proud of Sgt. Randy Beers and all the GSA associates now on active duty.
With today’s signing, GSA reaffirms its commitment to our troops and proudly stands with our fellow federal agencies in support of the Guard and Reserve.
Thank you very much.
It is now my pleasure to more formally introduce Bobby G. Hollingsworth.
Mr. Hollingsworth accepted his current position after two very successful careers.
He retired from the Marine Corps reserve in 1999 as a Major General after more than 38 years of Reserve and active duty service.
In his non-military career he accrued more than 18,000 hours of flight time as a commercial pilot for Trans World Airlines.
President Bush selected Mr. Hollingsworth as Executive Director of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve on November 6, 2001. Since that time, he has served as a key advisor on all matters involving employer support programs for all the reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bobby Hollingsworth.