Guillaume receives “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve” award

Dec. 18, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications

Bruce Guillaume, director of Mountain Challenge, was presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award.

The first in ESGR’s series of awards, the Patriot Award is awarded to individual supervisors and “reflects the efforts made to support Citizen Warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed,” according to the ESGR website.

Guillaume was nominated by Maryville College senior Mo Stepp ’14, who has worked for the outdoor team building company since 2010.

Stepp, Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (BM1) in the United States Coast Guard, has six years of active duty, three years of reserve duty and one overseas Combat Theater deployment in 2012 to Camp Patriot, Kuwait with USCG Port Security Unit 305 in support of a Naval Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron. He has logged over 600 underway missions in his career.

“I nominated Bruce and Mountain Challenge because the staff there exceeded every expectation in their support of me during and after my deployment,” said Stepp, who is majoring in environmental studies at Maryville College. “The care package I received from them was the first one I received overseas, and the way in which Bruce held my job and allowed me to reintegrate at my own pace after my return stateside was immeasurably valuable. For a month or so while the Coast Guard worked through some administrative complications concerning my pay, Mountain Challenge was my sole revenue.”

Guillaume, who was surprised to receive the award, said he was “just doing the right thing.”

“Mo has been huge for Mountain Challenge,” he said.

Gary Petree, a volunteer ombudsman with the Knoxville office of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, came to campus to present the award to Guillaume on Nov. 26.

“Employers like Bruce Guillaume and reservists like Mo Stepp are so important to our national defense,” Petree said. “They set a great example of an employee/employer relationship worthy of the Patriot Award recognition. I appreciate both of them and the opportunity to be part of the presentation.”

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.

“Our Nation has relied heavily on Guard and Reserve service members since entering continuous operations more than a decade ago,” the ESGR website states. “Employer support enhances retention rates in the Armed Forces and in the end, strengthens our national security.”

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.