WALLA WALLA - The Washington State Penitentiary today received the "Above and Beyond" award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee for its exceptional support of staff members who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
The ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that was established to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve members and their employers and to assist with conflicts that arise during an employee's military commitment.
"The ‘Above and Beyond' award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize American employers who provide extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation's call to serve," Ken Isaak, ESGR East Area Chairman said. "Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units."
Washington State Penitentiary has 27 staff members who are currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Penitentiary's veteran's committee frequently sends care packages and letters to soldiers. They also have a display in the main staff break room that features photos and letters from the soldiers.
"The Penitentiary staff is a lot like a family," Superintendent Steve Sinclair said. "Our deployed staff members are never far from our thoughts, and it's an honor that the staff who support them have been recognized by such an important agency."
The Washington State Penitentiary, located in Walla Walla, employs about 1,200 staff members and houses about 2,200 offenders.