March 6th, 2018 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions
Sterling’ Kierston Huffnagle Honored to Be Presented with the US Army Reserve Patriotic Employer Award
Kierston Huffnagel, Senior Manager of Billing Operations at Sterling, was recently presented the Patriotic Employer Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Department (ESGR). Kierston was nominated for the Patroit award by Annette Daniel, Financial Operation Specialist and a member of the US Army Reserves. Kierston has no idea about the award, which was presented by Annette and an Army Reserves representative during a special meeting Sterling’s Cleveland, Ohio office. Last year, Charles Cafaro, Assistant Vice President of National Sales at Sterling, received the Patriot award after being recommended by Kyle Lobaugh.
Annette’s Nominating Story
Annette Daniel went into the Army after high school and had been stationed all over the world including a year spent in South Korea and a year deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 to 2012. She left active duty in the Army in October 2013 after four years of service and entered civilian life. She started working as a supporting role the billing department at Sterling in 2015 but soon after became a full capacity member of the team including taking on some additional training responsibilities. In early 2016, Annette decided to return to military service as a member of the Army Reserves. She discussed the decision to join the Reserves with her manager, Kierston Huffnagle, to make sure it wouldn’t put any undue burden on the close-knit billing team. Kierston was fully supportive of Annette’s decision.
Annette entered the Army Reserves as a chaplain’s assistant, a role that she had during her active duty years. She is currently in transition between Reserve units but continues to train on a monthly to every other month basis in an airborne unit at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. There is also the additional two-week Army Reserve training during the year. Annette’s yearly training takes place during the holiday season where she assists in an annual holiday “toy drop” program. Since Annette’s training is in North Carolina, she needs to take extra PTO time on Friday and on Monday to get to/from her training. She was worried that this would put an additional burden on her team, but everyone has rallied around her and pitched in to help during the time she is away. When Annette entered the Reserves, she was asked how her employer reacted to the news. Annette shared the support of her manager, team and company in her decision. She was told then about nominating Kierston for the Patriotic Employer award. Annette explained, “I wish that I could give the entire team the award, because of all of the support they have given me. But, I am thrilled with being able to recommend Kierston.”
Kierston is elated to receive the US Army Reserves’ Patriot Award. She has been with Sterling for 19 years. She has held many positions in the Billing Department during her tenure and today heads a team of nine people in the Cleveland, Ohio and Rocklin California offices. This is her first opportunity in her working career of having an employee who is in the Army Reserves. Kierston shared “The whole team steps in when a person is out of the office for vacation or in Annette’s case for training.” As part of the award, Kierston received a special lapel pin and had a choice between receiving a tour of the Reserve base or going on a military training flight. She is still awaiting further details before she makes her decision on which special opportunity works the best for her. However, in the meantime, Kierston is proudly hanging the award in her office to share with her team and the Cleveland office.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriotic Employer Award
The ESGR, a Department of Defense program founded in 1972, promotes a “culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service members of the National Guard and Reserve of the United States.” The ESGR grants a series of awards to recognize employers who support their Guard and Reserve employees. An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for this distinction. The Patriotic Employer Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for family members and granting leaves of absence if needed. Patriot Awards are awarded to individual supervisors, not to an entire staff or organization as a whole.
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