Fire battalion chief recognized for support of Guard
When Grand Junction firefighter Matt Harmon wanted to volunteer for the funeral detail for a fellow soldier who killed himself in December, Battalion Chief John Williams gave him the time off with just two days’ notice.
It was something Williams didn’t have to do because it wasn’t one of Harmon’s official duties as a member of the Wyoming Army National Guard. But Williams didn’t hesitate to grant the request.
“My whole focus is supporting any employee,” Williams said. “I would do the same for anybody else.”
Harmon said Williams’ support when the funeral took place this winter and during Harmon’s deployment in 2008-09 in Afghanistan inspired him to nominate Williams for the Patriot Award for employers from the U.S. Department of Defense operational committee, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Williams received the award in a public ceremony in front of his colleagues Thursday afternoon at Fire Station No. 1. He called the award “extremely humbling.”
“I certainly don’t do this for any individual recognition,” he said.
Harmon said he wanted Williams to have the award because he has always supported him when he had to fulfill a National Guard calling, something Harmon said isn’t always easy.
“I’ve been having a lot of short-notice commitments and it puts a hardship on the entire crew,” he said.
The Patriot Award is given to supervisors who have been nominated by an employee due to the employer’s commitment to adjusting schedules, granting time off and supporting employees in the National Guard and Reserve. Nomination forms are available at http://www.esgr.mil/Employer-Awards/Patriot-Award.