BISMARCK, N.D. — As flooding across the state of North Dakota continues, civilian employers of North Dakota National Guard (NDNG) members continue to support the troops with pride.
“We ask a lot from our Guardsmen and they have responded when their community was in need in 2009 and 2010, and now twice in 2011,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “They wouldn’t be able to respond without the full support of their civilian employers and we thank our employers for their support now and in the future. We thank them for being part of the Guard community, and nearly 1,500 have signed statements of support, which solidifies the partnership between employers, employees and the North Dakota National Guard.”
Many Guardsmen served during flooding on the eastern side of North Dakota earlier this spring and are now serving on the western side of the state, making it crucial for Guardsmen to have support from their full-time employers.
“The members of the National Guard are at the forefront of this flood fight effort, so it’s important to us for them to perform their duty within the National Guard and we are happy to help facilitate that,” said Mary Klecker-Green, Public and Member Communications Supervisor at Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck.
These civilian employers have had to adjust their normal routines drastically with the temporary loss of their employees. State emergencies such as the current flooding come with little or no time for preparation by the employers, making the employers’ support vital to the success of the NDNG’s state-wide mission.
“One of our core values is that of commitment to community, and that is a philosophy shared by cooperatives all across the country,” said Klecker-Green. “Going hand in hand in that is our service members and what they do for our country.”
Basin Electric Power Cooperative has approximately 2,000 employees in the Midwest. Even with such a large employee base, the company still values each of its Guardsmen.
“For an organization of our size I can say without a doubt that we are a family and family steps up during challenging times,” said Klecker-Green.
Staff Sgt. Lynne Krug, bandsman with the 188th Army Band of Fargo, can attest firsthand to the importance of support from her employers. Krug, who lives near Fargo, was activated to help fight flooding in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Soon after she started work in Bismarck, her farm was hit by a tornado.
Krug’s civilian employer Microsoft immediately responded by offering to purchase boots for Microsoft employees to wear so they could clean up Krug’s yard while she was in Bismarck.
“It’s a lot of stress and individuals react differently to stress,” said Krug. “If you have your employer helping you deal with the stressful situation, it allows you to focus in on the job you are supposed to be doing for the military.
“You have stuff that’s happening at home, but you’re on orders to deploy to something that’s higher than yourself,” Krug added. “When you have somebody behind you, if you know that people have your back, you can focus on that higher call.”
Staff Sgt. Randall Raasch of the 68th Troop Command in Bismarck and Pvt. 1st Class Steven Moen of Detachment 1, 816th Engineer Company (Horizontal) responded to the call for help in the Bismarck-Mandan area.
Ben Eaton, owner of a feed lot south of Reeder, N.D., lost the help of both Raasch and Moen during this time. Raasch is the only employee at Eaton’s feed lot who knows how to use certain equipment which is essential for planting crops. Eaton had just two weeks to get the entire crop planted to qualify for his crop insurance.
“The state and the people need the Guardsmen and the Guardsmen must know they are doing something important,” said Eaton. “These are just little obstacles in the road and we just have to make it around.”
Raasch said that he values being a Guardsman, even when the duty puts a strain on his civilian career. “It can be challenging to juggle both the civilian world and the Soldier world,” said Raasch. “You have to keep your priorities straight and put the public’s needs before your own.”
With water expected to stay at flooding levels for the coming weeks, the need for employer support will remain unparalleled in importance for the flood fight.
“They continue to do so much for our country and so much for us in our work place,” said Klecker-Green. “We are so appreciative of their work and their service and as an employer we are happy to assist them in times of deployment and service.”
During the flood fight, Guardsmen perform duties that include regulating traffic control points, monitoring dikes and levees and working on quick response teams to ensure the safety of threatened areas of communities.
“It is vital for our civilian employers to allow us time to be at the forefront of this battle,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Job, NDNG senior enlisted leader. “Employers are the leading edge of support to the Guardsmen who protect the community we all work for.”
For more information, please visit 'www.ESGR.org'.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about a dozen North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
Additional photos available on Flickr: Bismarck-Mandan Flood Ops June