Boss lift program helps employers understand military service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez
  • 108th PAO
When an Air National Guard service member is called to active duty, more than likely he will be leaving a civilian employer shorthanded. When the employer happens to be a small business enterprise with only 16 employees such as Eastern Mountain Sports, the impact of that loss is even greater. Providing these employers with a better understanding of what their employees do when they are away from their civilian job is critical.

Through the Boss Lift program, The New Jersey Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve provides employers with an opportunity to observe firsthand their activated employees receiving military training.

"It's a fabulous program," said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Grover, chief for the 108th Civil Engineers Squadron. "The program gets employers to buy into the military service and allows them to know what their employees are doing."

So as the 108th CES out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. conducted immersion training at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in December, employers from small companies, large corporations, as well as law enforcement agencies flew Dec. 10 to Tyndall AFB and were provided with an opportunity to tour the 1,200 acre Silver Flag Exercise site, as well as co-mingle with their activated employees.

Also in attendance as part of the Boss Lift are ESGR committee members, community leaders, and members of the local media.
He was asked to fly down by an ESGR member the day before the trip, said James Dodd, mayor of Dover, N.J.

"When I found out that one of my constituents was a member of the unit, I just had to show my support," continued Dodd as he posed for pictures with Senior Airman Bryant Obando, a Dover resident and a civil engineer with the 108th CES.

The ESGR tries to conduct four to five Boss Lift tours per year, said Terry Dearden, executive assistant at New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The program brings it home when the employers see the Airmen living in tents and training all day long, said Dearden.
After observing the training and interacting with their activated employees, some of the employers are asked to sign a Statement of Support, which is a non-binding agreement stating that as an employer, they support and voluntarily comply with existing laws regarding military service.

So as Lt. Col. Paul Novello, commander for the 108th CES, interacted with his bosses from Eastern Mountain Sports, he proudly introduced them to service members from the N.J. Air National Guard leadership.

Novello will be missed greatly, but we just have to distribute the workload to the other employees of the company, said Matt D'Angelo, manager for Eastern Mountain Sports.