JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — General Shale’s director of human resources was recently honored with a Patriot Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense.
The award, which recognizes employers for their support of National Guard and Reserve members, was presented to Scott Ledford during a ceremony on July 16 at General Shale’s headquarters in Johnson City, Tennessee.
General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG and a leading manufacturer of brick, one of the world’s oldest green building materials.
Air Force Master Sgt. Steve Sanders nominated Ledford in recognition of his support of the Air National Guard. During his 16-year tenure with General Shale, Sanders has held several positions at various company locations, including manufacturing supervisor, project manager in the corporate engineering department, and product engineer. Since 2009, he has been assistant plant manager at General Shale’s manufacturing facility in Spring City, Tennessee.
Sanders, who has more than 23 years of service with the Air National Guard, has served as a repair and reclamation craftsman for the past 16 years with the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard, located at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. He was recently placed on active duty for the next four years through an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy as an Academy Military Trainer. He is the first Air National Guard member to serve in this role.
“General Shale is proud to support our employees who serve in all aspects of military service, which includes the National Guard and Reserve,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO of General Shale. “We are deeply appreciative of Steve’s contributions, both to our company and our country through his distinguished military service, and we are honored that he has nominated Scott for this esteemed award.”
Ledford, a native of Piney Flats, Tennessee, has been with General Shale since 1998.
“It is an honor to have been nominated by Steve for the Patriot Award, and I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of the entire General Shale family,” Ledford says. “It is a privilege to work with Steve and to support him in all that he does to serve our country.”
According to ESGR representative James Cross, who presented the award to Ledford, support provided by employers such as General Shale is critical for ensuring that members of the National Guard and Reserve are able to serve in their military roles.
“The Guard comprises almost 50 percent of our total armed forces,” Cross says. “In Iraq in 2005, 60 percent of boots on the ground were Guard reservists. But their contributions don’t end there. A member of the Guard and Reserve brings a myriad of skills with them to their civilian jobs that others do not have, including attitude, ability to follow instructions and a greater knowledge of world events — real team players.”
Established in 1972, ESGR seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as employers’ principal advocate within the Department of Defense. Paramount to ESGR’s mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
The following content was contributed by General Shale.