After supporting a staff member enlisted with the Army National Guard, Bay City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Bigelow has been granted the U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award.
At the district’s Monday, Dec. 12 school board meeting, Paul DeSander, Michigan’s eastern area chairman for the Department of Defense, was the first to speak.
DeSander said the award is one of a series of awards from the ESGR focusing on the employee-employer relationship when it comes to service support.
To receive the award, an employee serving in a National Guard branch (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Space Force, or their respective reserves), or the spouse of a National Guard or reserve member, can nominate individual supervisors or bosses for the support they directly provide to the nominating service member and their family.
Bigelow and BCPS were nominated in August by SPC Benjamin H. Tierney, who is currently deployed with Saginaw’s Bravo 1-125 Infantry in the Middle East as a part of the Michigan Army National Guard’s support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
SPC Tierney serves as director of communications and family engagement at Bay City Public Schools.
DeSander said the award reflects the efforts made to support service members through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, aiding with family care and granting leaves of absence as needed.