Indianapolis Fire Department receives Pro Patria Award from Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

Presented by the Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (INESGR) State Chairman Stephen Lynch and Adjutant Major General Courtney Carr, Chief Ernest Malone accepted the Pro Patria award on behalf of the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) in the annual INESGR awards ceremony held tonight at the Hilton Indianapolis.  

“ESGR’s Pro Patria Award  is presented annually by each ESGR State Committee to one small, one large, and one public sector employer in their state or territory. Recipients have demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve. This is the highest level award that may be bestowed by an ESGR State Committee.   Employers who have been honored with the Above and Beyond Award, who have had at least one supervisor or other representative honored with a Patriot Award, and who have signed a Statement of Support are eligible for the Pro Patria Award.”

In partnership with Professional Firefighters Local 416, the IFD has long supported its members who serve not only the City of Indianapolis but their state and country through service in the Indiana National Guard (INNG).  Support includes benefits such as pay differential along with continuation of employer pension and insurance contributions for all drill periods, annual training, schools, and deployments. The department also grants a week of vacation to members who have served 30-180 days of active duty and an additional two weeks of vacation for orders lasting over 180 days. The IFD actively seeks members of the guard and reserve. Each year, the department hosts a booth at Operation Hire A Hoosier Vet Career Fair. The IFD also regularly pursues the FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) hiring grant. IFD supports the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 and has been eligible to receive full funding for three years instead of the usual two years for hiring military veterans.  Since 2013, the Indianapolis Fire Department has hired 31 current or prior service military members.

Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (INESGR) State Chairman Stephen Lynch (IFD photo)

Adjutant Major General Courtney Carr, Chief Ernest Malone (IFD photo)

Since 1996, the IFD has had a total of 67 firefighters who served in the INNG with 45 deployed since 2002.  Chief Ernest Malone states “ “The Indianapolis Fire Department fully supports and is thankful for the selfless service offered by our firefighters who also serve as military personnel.  I have witnessed, and am in awe of their commitment to the greater good for all of us.  Veterans embrace and live out values such as courage, commitment, compassion, integrity,  honor and respect.  Our departments debt to them is one we can never truly repay.  We are honored to have our efforts recognized at the highest state level not because we want the recognition but because our service members deserve to be acknowledged for their hard work.”

The Indianapolis Fire Department was awarded the INESGR Above and Beyond Award in 2009 and 2013. The department received numerous nominations for the Patriot Award in 2008, 2010, and 2012. The IFD was also awarded a formal Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2011 and has been an eager participant in the INESGR Boss Lift Program. In June of this year, IFD Chief Ernest Malone signed the ESGR Statement of Support alongside Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. Military members and the entire command staff were in attendance to witness the department’s public display of support and encouragement for its 24 active guard and reservists. A framed copy of the signed Statement of Support can be found on display in all 43 IFD fire stations.

The IFD is currently one of 30 finalists in the running for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award out of 3,064 Freedom Award nominations.  Since its inception in 1996, more than 17,000 nominations have been submitted and only 275 employers have received the award.  Only 3 recipients have been from Indiana.   “The group of finalists goes before a National Selection Board comprised of senior Department of Defense officials, representatives from each of the seven Reserve Components, employer associations and past recipients of the Freedom Award. This selection committee makes recommendations for up to 15 recipients to the Secretary of Defense for final approval. The annual award ceremony is held each August in Washington, DC.”



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