June 14, 2013 17:30
The City of Salem Police Department was recently honored by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve - ESGR during the organization’s employer recognition banquet in Norfolk.
Salem Animal Control Officer Shaun VanDyke, who is in his fifth year on the Salem Police Force, also has served his country for a decade in the Army and Army Reserve. During his tenure in Salem, he was deployed with the Reserves and served as a Drill Sergeant in South Carolina. While he was gone, his superiors not only stayed in touch with him and held his job, but they kept his exact position secure while he was away from Salem.
"When I was deployed to Fort Jackson in 2011, the department assured me that my job was safe and I would be able to come right back in when I returned home,” says VanDyke. “They had going-away and welcome-back parties for me and my family, and while I was gone on deployment, the department always made sure they invited my family to events throughout the year."
The Salem Police Department received the State Chairman’s “Above and Beyond” award which is given to employers who exceed the legal requirements for providing support to service members, who serve in the National Guard and Reserves.
"My Lieutenant, Bill Bandy, stayed in touch with me every week I was gone, and when I got back, it was as if I had never left,” says VanDyke.
ESGR is a Defense Department office that was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
Van Dyke, who showed his appreciation by nominating the department for this award, accepted the honor in person along with Salem Police Chief, Jeff Dudley, on June 8.