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School district recognized for military support

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Also nominated for national award

By Ashley Sutter

This month, Shelby County Public Schools was selected as one of ten finalists for The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, and although it didn’t win the national award the district was recognized with the Pro Patrai Award during Thursday’s board of education meeting.

Robert S. Silverthorn, Jr., Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve [ESGR] Field Committee Chairman of the Kentucky Committee, presented the award to the board.

The award is presented to nominees that have shown a great deal of support to Guard and Reserve employees.

“I have the privilege of each year nominating one employer in the state to receive recognition by the secretary of defense,” Silverthorn said. “This year I had the pleasure of nominating Shelby County Public Schools for that recognition. There are only five of these that are given nationally to the public employer sector and your entity was selected as a finalist this year.  You are one of ten public sector employers singled out for recognition for what you do for families of Guard and Reserve members in your community, particularly those that are mobilized and deployed,” he said.

The district was nominated to receive the award by Krome Raymond, an SCPS maintenance employee and a Tech Sergeant for the Kentucky Air National Guard.

Nominees for the award were selected from 2,864 nominations that were submitted by military members.

The Pro Patria Award is the highest award that can be bestowed by a state ESGR committee, though those committee members can nominate employers for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the greatest recognition the U.S Government bestows upon employers for their support of Guard and Reserve employees.

Silverthorn explained that the district was selected to receive the award and as a finalist for the Freedom Award because of the great deal of support shown to Guard and Reserve employees, as well as the families and students of members of the Guard and Reserve.

“I cannot tell you how impressive your work is in touching the lives of children of those service members because children of deployed parents have special needs and your employees have reached out to them…to not only address those needs but to identify programs that in fact can improve their performance in school, emotionally and educationally,” he said.

Those selected to receive the Freedom Award will be honored at the 19th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C in September.  In 2013, President Barack Obama personally honored Freedom Award recipients at the White House.