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A show of appreciation for employers

Civilian employers flying on board a C-130 Hercules orientation flight take photos and look out windows of the aircraft during the 302nd Airlift Wing’s annual Employer Appreciation Day hosted at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Aug. 4 2017.

Civilian employers take photos onboard a C-130 Hercules orientation flight during the 302nd Airlift Wing’s annual Employer Appreciation Day at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Aug. 4, 2017. Employer Appreciation Day aims to educate civilian employers on the missions of the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

Master Sgt. Jason Harvey, a 302nd Operations Group loadmaster, explains how the U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System is used to suppress the spread of wildfires to a group of civilian employers during the 302nd Airlift Wing’s annual Employer Appreciation Day, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Aug. 4, 2017.

Master Sgt. Jason Harvey, a 302nd Operations Group C-130 loadmaster, explains how the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System is used to contain wildfires to a group of civilian employers during the 302nd Airlift Wing’s annual Employer Appreciation Day, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Aug. 4, 2017. Employer Appreciation Day aims to educate civilian employers on the missions of the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Most Reservists divide their lives into three parts, often compared to a three-legged stool. Those parts may include family life, civilian career, and Reserve duty. Without balance and support from each part of life -- or leg of that stool, reservists may become less effective in one or all three aspects of their lives and possibly lose the stability of the proverbial three-legged stool.

The 302nd Airlift Wing recognizes the potential strain put on civilian employers when a reservist leaves for military duty. To help reinforce the delicate balance between its reservists’ civilian and military careers and to show thanks for supporting their reservists and the Reserve program, the wing hosts an annual Employer Appreciation Day.

Employer Appreciation Day gives civilian employers of Reservists a front row seat in observing and learning about the missions here through demonstrations and experiences.

“Employer support is crucial to the overall success of our mission,” said Col. James DeVere, the 302nd Airlift Wing commander, as he welcomed the group of more than 35 employers inside the wing’s Summit Center, Aug. 4, 2017. “This is a great opportunity for us to say ‘thank you’ and showcase how your reservists serve our country.”

After a mission brief delivered by DeVere, the event moved to the flightline where the employers boarded a C-130 Hercules for an hour-long orientation flight during a local training mission over southern Colorado mountain ranges.

Once back on the ground, the group headed for lunch, where they met with the wing’s leadership and representatives from Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

U.S. Army Col. (Ret.) Mary Miller, and a volunteer with Colorado ESGR, offered advice to the group about laws and practices involved with having reservists in their employ and the benefits of hiring them.

“These are not your everyday people,” she said. “They already know what it means to work hard, respect a chain of command and follow a code of ethics. Many of them are already trained in a profession.”

The day’s events wrapped up with the employers meeting Reserve Citizen Airmen who rely on the C-130 to accomplish their various mission sets and getting a close-up view of a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System. Among the reservists giving demonstrations and answering questions were representatives from the 39th Aerial Port Squadron, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 731st Airlift Squadron and 302nd Operations Group.

“To see all of this really clarifies the parts and details involved with what’s required to make all of this happen,” said Dr. Deidre Hirschfeld, who employs Master Sgt. Carlos Silva, a traditional Reservist assigned to the 39th Aerial Port Squadron. “I’ve always been supportive of the military, but this really gives me an all-encompassing perspective and new appreciation for what the Reserve does.”

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui