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The director of a Connecticut procurement-assistance program was honored Monday by defense officials as a "patriotic employer."
Brien Robertson, who directs the state Procurement Technical Assistance Program, or PTAP, received the employer honor from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The technical assistance program is part of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, also known as SeCTer. During ceremonies at the New London headquarters of SeCTer, Robertson was honored for "contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America's National Guard and Reserve Force."
Robertson was nominated for the award by Charles Loya, who serves as a PTAP procurement specialist serving businesses in the Torrington and Bridgeport areas. Loya, a member of the Air Force Reserve who served in a Medical Aircraft Evacuation Unit deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010, had experienced months-long periods of unemployment before and after his active service. Loya had been a purchasing agent for Waterbury Hospital but the job was eliminated in 2009 because of the sagging economy.
A Department of Defense program, called the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), encourages businesses and organizations to hire veterans whenever possible. Employers can also sign a "Statement of Support" as part of the program. Loya said that Robertson, on behalf of PTAP and SeCTer, hired him and has continued to actively support his involvement in the Air Force Reserves
By hiring Loya and continuing to offer opportunities to veterans, Robertson exemplifies those employers who recognize and show continuing support for "America's Citizen Warriors," according to defense officials.