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Firm earns award for support of National Guard and Reserve

February 21, 2001

Firm earns award for support of National Guard and Reserve



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

ESGR AwardGarden State Tanning Inc. of Williamsport has received a regional award from the U.S. Department of Defense for its support of its employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The award was presented to the company during Tuesday's meeting of the Washington County Commissioners. U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., attended the presentation.

The U.S. Department of Defense each year hands out one Employer Support Freedom Award and four regional awards.

It is the fifth year the awards have been presented and the first time a Washington County company has received the award.

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Garden State Tanning won the regional award for the Eastern United States. The company was nominated by an Army reservist who works at Garden State and by the Maryland Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The Garden State's Williamsport plant has about 1,100 employees, of which 12 are members of the National Guard or Reserve.

When service members must take extended leaves of absence for military training, Garden State makes up the difference in pay and the employee's health coverage and other benefits remain in effect.

Garden State Tanning employee Douglas Mason, 40, a sergeant in the Army Reserve, said he nominated the company to thank it for how it has treated him and other reservists. He has been with the company since he was 18 and a reservist for almost 19 years, he said.

From talking to other reservists, he's learned that most companies aren't as helpful to employees as is Garden State Tanning, said Mason, who is a member of the 1007th Maintenance Co. in Hagerstown.

Garden State President Ernest C. Immon Jr. said he believes the company is doing what all businesses should do. He did not realize it was doing anything special until he learned about the award, he said.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook praised Garden State Tanning for its work.

Bartlett said he was not surprised the company won the award. He commended the work force for helping keep Garden State here while other companies and industries move overseas.

"I am very pleased to be here once again to honor Garden State," Bartlett said.

Bartlett previously attended an April ceremony at which a company employee was presented with a related "My Boss Is A Patriot" award. Both awards are part of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Charles Bloyer, human resource manager for Garden State Tanning, received the "My Boss Is a Patriot" certificate April 19 after Mason nominated him for the Department of Defense award because of his support of Mason's responsibilities as a reservist.

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