Sep 26, 2016

Federation Support of National Guard & Reservists Garners Dept. of Defense Award for COO Mel Lowell

The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County recently received a special visit from a representative of ESGR, a program of the U.S. Department of Defense. Arriving on a mission of honor, Lenny Miller, Vice Chair of Florida ESGR, presented Federation’s COO, Mel Lowell with the Patriot Award, “for contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”

“ESGR is dedicated to developing, promoting and maintaining employer support for Guard and Reserve service,” said Miller. “Employer support enhances retention rates in the Armed Forces and, in the end, strengthens our national security.”

Mel Lowell, Lenny Miller

“The Patriot Award reflects employer efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules and time off,” Miller continued. It honors the sacrifices made by employers through a wide range of measures year after year.”

Lowell was nominated by Federation’s Assistant Vice President of Security and Transportation, Ted Morris. “Mel and the Federation know how committed I am to the Federation’s mission and to using all my abilities to protect our campus and the thousands who visit it and live there every day,” he said. “I can never give back what they’ve given me. But one thing I could do was to nominate Mel, our Security team leader, for recognition of his continued efforts to make this Federation a model employer for the National Guard and Reserves.”

Since leaving full-time active army service 20 years ago for his job at Federation, Morris has maintained his commitment to our country through the Florida National Guard. With a B.S. degree in Homeland Security and Public Safety, Ted has risen to the rank of Army Command Sergeant Major. The few who hold this highest rank of a Non-Commissioned Officer of the U.S. Army are, of course, highly skilled and invaluable in deployments both overseas and domestic. They also receive extensive ongoing and emergency training.

Five of the Morris’ nine deployments and activations have taken place during his tenure at the Federation. On the longest – 18 months – he was accompanied by another Federation employee, Butch Metzger. Other employees also currently serve as Guards and Reservists, a commitment Federation not only accommodates but also fully embraces.

“The Federation is so supportive of our National Guard duties,” says Morris. “It means so much to be able to serve our country knowing we will have the support to carry out our ongoing responsibilities as well as be welcomed back to our jobs and helped to reintegrate into the civilian workforce here following deployments. And Mel fully understands the unique talents, training, skills and discipline we bring to the Federation.”

Mel Lowell, Lenny Miller, Jimmy Keck, Ted Morris, Matt Levin

“Our support for reservists on our staff is absolutely incontrovertible and extends from our President & CEO Matt Levin to throughout our organization,” said Lowell. “The real honorees are our guard members and veterans who regard their work for Federation as they do their military service - with total commitment to protecting the thousands of students, elderly and disabled residents, employees and visitors who cross our gates every day, and to jobs well done with pride and dedication.

“What they bring to our 100-acre campus is irreplaceable. All of our security personnel have served our country, and many also have law enforcement backgrounds – like Security Director Jimmy Keck, who served eight years in the military with two Vietnam service ribbons, 23 years with the Detroit Police Department where he was a lieutenant, and 12 years as Director of Public Safety at Cranbrook.”

As for his award, Lowell said, “We strive to do whatever we can for our National Guard and Reservists, and I’ve been told not everyone does that.” “For an employer to fail to shore up and support its employees who serve our country is simply unconscionable.”