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U.S. DOD Recognizes BLM National Training Center for Employer Support of Guard and Reserve Forces


Bureau: Bureau of Land Management


On Jan. 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense presented their Patriot Award to the Bureau of Land Management’s National Training Center in Phoenix, Ariz., and recently retired NTC Director Don Charpio. “For Contributing to National Security and Protecting Liberty and Freedom by Supporting Employee Participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”

The BLM’s National Training Center and recently retired NTC Director Don Charpio receive the Patriot Award from the U.S. Department of Defense. BLM photo.

The BLM’s National Training Center and recently retired NTC Director Don Charpio receive the Patriot Award from the U.S. Department of Defense. BLM photo.

The award, presented by Holli Merrow of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Office, acknowledged the NTC’s long history of recognizing the contribution of veteran employees and supporting current employees who are members of the military reserve and National Guard. “On behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, we are pleased to acknowledge the willingness of the Bureau of Land Management to support employees who continue to serve our country as members of our reserve forces,” said Merrow.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Theresa Joseph, division chief for NTC’s Instructional Design and Media Services, helped present the award to Charpio on the eve of his retirement. “Don and NTC have always gone out of the way to value those of us who have sacrificed to guard our nation,” she said. “He always walked the talk when it came time to accommodate my annual periods of military duty.”

 U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Theresa Joseph, NTC employee, speaks about the NTC’s support of its guard and reserve forces. From left: Holli Merrow from U.S. DOD, retired NTC Director Don Charpio and Joseph. BLM photo.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Theresa Joseph, NTC employee, speaks about the NTC’s support of its guard and reserve forces. From left: Holli Merrow from U.S. DOD, retired NTC Director Don Charpio and Joseph. BLM photo.
“As part of our Veteran’s Day observation every year, NTC has called upon our employees who are veterans to share stories of their active duty,” Charpio explained. “Staff members bring in their commendation medals and other memorabilia from their service to America. It is an honor to be recognized in this way on my last day of federal service!”

During the presentation, Joseph told the group, “Since I’ve been with BLM, the NTC has supported me during every military training mission. Coverage is provided when I’m away, and I’m welcomed back with open arms. There has never been a negative word said about my service. It’s standard policy to support reserve troops in the most positive fashion.”

She added: “The BLM has the most rewarding military pay policy over any organization I have worked for in the past 23 years. We are allotted 140 hours of military leave so we don’t have to burn our annual leave and any unused hours roll over to the next year. This enables us to be paid during annual training as well as any other "spot" missions our units may have throughout the year.”

In being recognized with this Patriot Award, the NTC has been put forward as a candidate for the national U.S. DOD Freedom Award which will be announced later this year.

By: Chip Calamaio, program manager for Media Services, BLM National Training Center
Jan. 27, 2014