CLARKSVILLE — The Clarksville Fire Department was recognized Wednesday for its strength as an employer supportive of men and women pursuing military careers.
Maj. Kelley Rudder and the department as a whole were presented honors by Jack Mahuron, ombudsman of the Indiana committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
The nomination came from Patrick Minard, a military policeman with the Indiana National Guard who served nearly a year with the department before being deployed to Cuba in fall. Rudder was Minard's direct supervisor and in a letter read by Mahuron, he thanked them all.
“I have never experienced real patriotism from a civilian employer until my experience with the Clarksville Fire Department,” Mahuron read. “These men and women and especially administration hired [me] knowing that I am a National Guardsman and preparing for deployment.
“They knew that I was going to be needed for extra training time for the Army while I was being trained to be a firefighter and they worked for me. They have been morally supporting through training and have fostered a brotherhood par to that which I've seen in the U.S. Military,” the letter continued.
“The sacrifice an employer takes on when hiring a guardsman with deployment on the horizon is something incredibly noteworthy.”
Rudder said he was happy to support Minard — through training days he had to take off and other preparation to get ready to deploy.
“He's a good, young man that wants to do well in anything he does — not just the military, not just the fire department — everything he does he does to his fullest ability.”
Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs said it's the philosophy of the department and the town to support people as they work to protect freedoms. Minard has served in the Indiana National Guard for a decade, being deployed on several tours, Skaggs said.
“We stand by him,” the chief said. “I think that's an honorable thing to do not only for our country but for our Hoosiers.
“They're sacrificing their time from their families and friends or employers, but it's all the common goal to keep us safe here on the homefront.”
And the experience proves to be valuable to emergency departments.
“The skill set that these guardsmen and reserves bring, some of that stuff we can't teach — physical agility, they're used to the command structure,” he said.
Minard has just under a year with the department which means he's still in a probationary phase until that year is up. But Skaggs said they welcome him back when he's finished.
“His seniority still counts,” Skaggs said. “We're holding his job for him and we'll be happy to have him back when he serves his tour.”