by Bob Pepalis / Appen Newspapers
Milton – Denny Thibault has been missing some days and weeks from work, but his employer, Gordon Cook, doesn't mind. Thibault is an RF engineer for Verizon Wireless, but he also serves as a captain in the Ga. Army National Guard.
Earlier this year, Thibault, a Forsyth County resident, returned to work from a second tour of duty. But not all the soldiers in the 1st Squadron-108th Cavalry returned. In their memory, the 108th Memorial Fund created the 1-108th Cavalry Fallen Soldiers Memorial at the Calhoun National Guard Armory, where the battalion's headquarters are located.
On Sept. 22, Verizon Wireless donated $2,000 to the memorial, to honor the memory of fallen troops and in thanksgiving for those who serve the country, including the company's employees.
The support he's been given led Thibault to nominate his boss, Gordon Cook, for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award. Cook was given that award, which is in recognition as an outstanding employer who supports a strong National Guard and Reserve force. Employers are required by law to provide a certain level of support, but it takes a much higher level to earn this award.
"There's no question, no doubt in my mind if Verizon weren't as supportive as they are, I could not be in the National Guard and still support my family and keep my job," Thibault said. "They go above and beyond the minimums of the law in every way. They've been nothing but supportive through my two deployments."
The check Verizon Wireless gave to the Fallen Soldiers Memorial is an example of how Thibault said his employer goes so much farther than anybody expects from an employer.
Capt. Geoffrey Miller of the 1-108th Cavalry also thanked Verizon Wireless for the donation.
"Getting a donation like this from a company as large as Verizon is very important – it's important to us, and it's important to the families and children of those we lost in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2005 and 2006," Miller said.
The soldiers just returned from a deployment in March and wanted to do something different that hadn't been seen in Georgia before, building a memorial at the armory site in Calhoun.
"Companies like Verizon are allowing us to do that," Miller said.
Thibault's responsibilities have grown within the Guard, as he is about to assume command of B Troop in Canton.