Pratt & Whitney is recognized for their support of employees who are also members of the Guard and Reserves.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Nearly half of our national defense is comprised of men and women who serve part-time in the National Guard and Reserves.
"Forty percent of our available military force here in the United States is National Guardsmen and Reservists," stated Gregory Small, executive director of the Maine committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. "They are part-time service members who rely on employers to put a roof over their head and take care of their families, so if employers don't support that effort, that is a big chunk of our national defense that won't be available to us."
To recognize employers who work to make their service as painless as possible, the committee bestows the 'Above and Beyond' Award. It is awarded to four or five businesses across the state each year.
Pratt and Whitney, a large aeronautics manufacturer in North Berwick, is the latest company to receive the honor.
"During this last year, they had three young men that were deployed over in the middle east," explained Small. "They did care packages and sent them over to them while they were deployed, they took care of their families back here at home by going to their house and providing assistance when it was needed. When the guys came back from deployment, they had an incredible celebration and welcome home ceremonies."
Wanye Michaud, who recently returned from Afghanistan where he served with the 1136th Transportation Company of the Maine Army National Guard, says his deployment would have been harder without the support of his bosses and co-workers at Pratt and Whitney.
"It was awesome. I was able to do what I needed to do," he said. "I was working over there. I wasn't thinking about my family, because I didn't need to."
His wife, who also works at the plant, says everyone pitched in to make a difficult situation as easy as possible.
"The support that I got from the other employees that work here is just, it's amazing how people came through to help me out," explained Kathryn Michaud. "From mowing my lawns, to just checking in with me to make sure there wasn't anything I needed, and letting me know that if I needed to talk they were there - it was very good to have that support when he was gone."