Yelm community schools receive National Guard award
By Daniel Warn / [email protected]
Yelm Community Schools received the Above and Beyond Award from the Washington National Guard Guard and Reserve Employer Support Office (ESGR).
Yelm High School music teacher Scott Pierson nominated the district for the award because of the support he received while simultaneously a teacher and chief warrant officer and commander of the 133rd Army Marching Band. Washington Army National Guard.
Ken Schwarm, an ESGR volunteer in Washington, presented the award to the Yelm School Board at its October 28 meeting. Schwarm is one of more than 3,000 volunteers nationwide who provide information, education, recognition and mediation to members of the National Guard and Reserve and their employers on behalf of the United States Department of Defense. .
“On behalf of the Executive Director, National President and State President, and Washington ESGR, they are pleased to present the Above and Beyond Award to community schools in Yelm,” Schwarm said. “This award is presented by the President of the State in limited numbers to employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond supporting their (employees) while they also serve.”
Unbeknownst to many across the country, Schwarm said employers play a huge role in national defense.
“Without the support of employers, the (National) Guard and the Reserve Force cannot carry out their mission,” he said. “Not only by supporting the mission on the global war on terror, but also by giving an immediate response to events like the Oso mudslide (in 2014).
“And during our recent COVID mission, there will be 98 million pounds of food, vaccinating more than 255,000 people and closing more than 101,000 unemployment cases for the citizens of Washington state,” Schwarm said. “Yes, these are your friends, neighbors and co-workers. “
As the commander of the 133rd Army Marching Band for 13 years, Pierson said he received unprecedented support from Yelm High School and district level administrators when he needed time off for his military service.
“They are always gracious for last minute duties and fill the void for my classes while I am away,” Pierson said in his letter of appointment. “Their continued support was fully visible when I was promoted. The neighborhood posted the photos on social media and I got correspondence (congratulations) various district officials.
He said Yelm High School hosts a Veterans Day assembly where veterans and those still serving in the National Guard and Reserve are recognized.
Pierson said his colleagues and teachers asked him how they could support him and his wife during his time on active duty.
“I took a 15-month absence to take command as the Washington National Guard Force Warrant Officer and upon my return the District supported me tremendously … and made my transition back easy. “said Pierson.
The district’s support has enabled Pierson to serve his country in a meaningful way, he said.
“As the commander of a highly visible unit, I am often away, and sometimes on very short notice,” Pierson said. “Yelm Community Schools are stepping up and setting the standard for other employers. “