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UMFK President Richard Cost signs statement of support for guard and reserve employees

October 14, 2005

NR05158

University of Maine at Fort Kent President Richard Cost recently joined with the presidents of the other University of Maine System campuses and Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal to sign Statements of Support for Guard and Reserve employees, in conjunction with the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense.

Chancellor Westphal and six of the seven university presidents signed separate statements during a ceremony held at the System's 107 Maine Avenue location in Bangor, near the Bangor International Airport, on October 13.

According to Major Stephen Hatt, ESGR executive director in Maine, We are asking employers to go out of their way for their employees who serve by signing a Statement of Support. A Statement of Support demonstrates the strong level of support for our Guard and Reserve which is important during this critical time, and secondly, it sends a clear message to the service members that while they're serving their country, they do not have to worry about their civilian jobs.

Chancellor Joseph Westphal has taken the lead by demonstrating the University of Maine System's commitment to our Reserve Forces, Hatt added. By signing Statements of Support, the Chancellor and the presidents of the University of Maine System's universities are making a valuable contribution to the quality of life of their Guard and Reserve employees, and to our national defense effort.

Nationwide, 1.3 million Americans serve in the Reserve Forces Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Air Guard and make up more than half the national defense strength.

The University System has many employees from across the state who are Reservists and Guard members, as well as veterans who have served their country.

For example, one University of Maine at Machias employee who just returned to work this June after serving a year in Iraq, is now deployed in Louisiana as part of hurricane relief efforts in that area.

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 to promote understanding and support among employers of employees who serve as members of the National Guard and Reserve. For more information visit: http://www.esgr.com/.

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state's largest educational entity, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven universities -- some with multiple campuses -- located across the state, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites.

For more information, log onto www.maine.edu or for information on veterans education programs, visit the Maine State Approving Agency for Veterans Education Programs http://www.msaa.maine.edu/.