NEWS RELEASE #03- 207 September 29, 2003 DNR News (843) 953-9310
DNR OFFICER RECEIVES AWARD FOR SUPPORT OF NAVY RESERVIST
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officer Maj. Alvin Taylor received a national award for his support during one of his employee's yearlong call to active military duty.
Taylor supported the leave of absence by S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) law enforcement officer Carl Makins, who is also a reservist in the U.S. Navy and was called to active duty from October 2001 to October 2002. Taylor is in charge of the DNR law enforcement officers along the coast of South Carolina.
Lieutenant Cmdr. Todd Siddall of the U.S. Navy presented the award to Taylor at a Sept. 4 ceremony held at the Naval Weapons station in Charleston.
The award is a national award from the National Committee For Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve on behalf of the Department of Defense. All members of the National Guard and Reserve Forces are eligible to nominate their employers for the "My Boss is a Patriot" Certificate. This nomination is subsequently used by the local committee as the basis for consideration to receive higher awards.
Siddall is the commanding officer of Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Mobile Unit 12, in which Makins served. "It is nice to be able to finally recognize the employers of these reservists," Siddall said. "Unlike active duty personnel, reservists are leaving their primary life to live a secondary life when they are called to duty. Employers are left with empty positions, and it's nice to know that we can say thanks for allowing them to come out and support the nation and do the job we need to do." Siddall said Taylor made a significant contribution just by allowing Makins to come support the Department of Defense. "I know what it's like in the Navy when you lose someone and have to make do without their position," he said. "But Major Taylor stepped up as an employer and let Carl come out and help us. Carl's unit and other reserve units like his are doing great things for our nation, and the employers aren't normally recognized as properly as they should be."
Taylor said he is appreciative of the award. "As state employees we understand the need to give support on a national level when it is called for, and Carl showed a tremendous amount of responsibility and sense of duty when he was called to serve," he said. "The least we can do as employers is support those reservists who are called upon to protect our nation. Carl brings back with him to the DNR added experience and knowledge that he can use on the job here in South Carolina."
While on active duty as an explosive ordinance disposal diver, Makins' unit was located in Sicily where they conducted a harbor defense mechanism throughout Europe by sweeping ships and the harbor area for explosives. Makins helped protect U.S. Navy ships overseas by diving underwater to make sure the ships were safe from explosives. His unit was responsible for locating and destroying unexploded ordnance on land and under water, such as bombs, mines, rockets, missiles, torpedoes and limpets.
Makins has been a DNR law enforcement officer since March 2001, and patrols the waterways in the Beaufort area. He nominated Taylor for the award. Taylor kept in contact with Makins through e-mail the entire year that he was deployed overseas.
"Major Taylor's sincere thoughts of encouragement meant a great deal to me since I had only been stationed in Port Royal with the DNR for four months before being deployed," Makins said. "You know your family is there for you, but it's special when you get a thought from your co-worker or in my case, a supervisor."
Makins sees the importance of saying thank-you to supervisors who support their employees during reserve work. He saw during his deployment that not all employers were like Taylor, as many of his comrades never heard from their supervisors. "Not staying in touch leaves a void when you are gone, and you become skeptical about whether or not you will have a job when you get back. I did not have those feelings or thoughts because I had a patriotic employer who understood the oath I took to protect this country we live in from foreign or domestic foes. It makes a difference coming home when you know your supervisor is behind your efforts in the war against terrorism."
Prior to his career with the DNR, Makins served in active military duty from 1983-1987, and has been in the reserves since 1987. Although Makins gained a wealth of experience during his time overseas, he is glad to be back home. "I was very happy to have served my country when I was needed but I am extremely happy to be back with my family and friends and wearing GREEN again!"
- Written by Jennie R. Davis -
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