Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren received an award today (Thursday) honoring him for his committment to a member of the military who served overseas, who also is one of his deputies. Jerry Hansen Veteran’s Service Officer for Montgomery County made the award to McLaren on behalf of the Iowa and National Committees for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), which is under the office of the Secretary of Defense.
(at left) Jerry Hansen, (Center) Sheriff Darby McLaren, (right) Deputy Ryan Johnson
McLaren was nominated for the Secretary of Defense Employer’s Support Freedom Award by Deputy Ryan Johnson, who was required to take time off of his job to serve in the military, overseas. The award is the U-S Government’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Only members of the Guard and Reserve and their family members are eligible to nominate their employers for the award.
Hansen said the award “Recognizes employers who support goodwill, are critically important to retaining highly skilled and qualified members of the Guard and Reserve.” He says Johnson felt strongly enough about McLaren’s support to nominate him and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department for the recognition. In his letter nominating McLaren, Johnson said he was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan. After notifying McLaren of his deployment and the duties he needed to atteded to prior to deploying overseas, he says McLaren understood the committment, and explained the situation in detail to the remaining deputies and staff.
While on active duty, Johnson says McLaren saw to it his wife was taken care of, including providing them with security after an attempted break-in at their home, and even removing a snake from his basement. Johnson said his wife was “treated like a queen”by the other deputies and staff. He says when he returned from his deployment, McLaren told him to take as much time as necessary to re-adjust to life and worked on scheduling, so Johnson could spend time with his wife, whom he was away from for 15-months. He ended his statement my saying “My boss is great.”
McLaren, humble in his acceptance of the award, said it was as much for the deputies in his office as it was for himself, because of their committment to working the extra hours necessary to cover for their fellow employee. He especially thanked former deputies Brian Rink and Don Lappe, for stepping-in to volunteer their time. McLaren said he feels “Unwarranted for accepting the award from the military, based on what Ryan (and his fellow soldiers) were giving up,” to serve our Country. He says the deputies “Were home with their wives and families every night, while they (the soldiers) were overseas, risking their lives.”