Press Releases

Press Releases

ESGR Reports: Department of Defense Honors Swiftships Ship Builders
For immediate release: Mar 14, 2011


http://www.esgr.net/site/News/tabid/73/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/796/Default.aspx

Department of Defense Honors Swiftships Ship Builders LLC for Outstanding Support of Employees who Serve In The Louisiana National Guard And Reserve

Morgan City, LA----The Louisiana Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (LAESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, announced today that it honored Calvin L. LeLeux President & CEO of Swiftships Ship Builders LLC with a Patriot Award in recognition of his outstanding support of the company’s employees who serve in the Louisiana National Guard and Reserve.  Larry Jones CDR USCG(Ret.), LAESGR Southeast Area Chair, and Lou Gavin, LAESGR Public Affairs Representative, presented the Award to Mr. LeLeux at the company's headquarters. In accepting the Patriot Award Mr. LeLeux said, “This is really an honor. But supporting the men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve just comes naturally for us at SwiftShips. Because of the nature of what we do, we employ a large number of people with military backgrounds, including those who serve in the Guard and Reserve. And when Guard or Reserve members are called to active duty, we like them to know that things are okay back home.”  To back up his comments, Mr. LeLeux signed a Statement of Support.

Founded in 1947 Swiftships is located near the Port of Morgan City on the banks of the Atchafalaya River and specializes in building shallow water high speed crafts which makes them ideal for the patrol of the world's sea transport lanes, rivers, harbors and coasts that are under threat from everything from terrorists to pirates. Swiftships boats are operating in a defense capacity throughout South America,  the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and every branch of the U.S. Military, U.S. State Department and Homeland Security. The company delivered hundreds of Swift Patrol Boats in support of the Vietnam War. Currently Swiftships is building 15 35- meter patrol boat for Egypt as well as the fledging Iraqi navy and is training Iraqi officers and enlisted personnel in how to operate them. Mr. Jones and Mr. Gavin were able to observe some of the Iraqi sailors complete their training drills. Swiftships was recently recognized as  a major economic contributor to the Morgan City area by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce by naming the company “Business of the year for 2011.”

LAESGR is one of 54 Committees which are located in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to Mr. Jones, “The Patriot Award was created by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to publicly recognize employers who provide outstanding patriotic support for their employees who have answered their country's call, leaving their families and putting their jobs on hold when they are deployed on active duty missions.”  Since the horrific events of 9/11, over 11,000 men and women with ties to Louisiana serving in the Louisiana National Guard have been called for active duty to perform missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world where the United States has commitments. This could not have been accomplished without the support of Louisiana employers.

The nomination for Swiftships to receive the Patriot Award has an odd twist to it. The reason is normally employees nominate their employers for the Award. However, in this case, Mr. Jones was the nominator. In addition to serving as the LAESGR Southeast Area Chair, he is also an accomplished Ombudsman who has mediated dozens of reemployment disputes between Guard and Reserve members and their employers. In this instance, Craig Verdon, an employee of Swiftships who serves as an E-1 in the Army Reserve whose unit along with Mr. Verdon was deployed to Afghanistan. A few weeks ago his unit was de-mobilized and Mr. Verdon went to the Swiftships Department Manager for whom he worked prior to being called for active duty to as for his job back as a Warehouseman. The Department Manager apparently was not fully acquainted with the reemployment rights Guard and Reserve members have under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and refused to rehire Mr. Verdon who then filed a complaint. The case was assigned to Mr. Jones who contacted the Swifships' Human Resources Director, Ricky Bertrand. Mr.Jones said, “Ms Bertrand responded immediately, investigated the matter and Mr. Verdon was rehired and is still employed.”  Mr. LeLeux added, “As I said, “We support this country's military, both the active forces and the Guard and Reserve. Incidents such as this will not occur again here at Swiftships.”

Mr. Jones said the promptness of Ms Bertrand and Mr LeLeux in correcting the Verdon matter along with the company's work supplying the U.S. Military and our Allies with quality fast boats warrants the presenting of the Patriot Award.

As the 1.3 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions with America’s borders and beyond, ESGR will continue to be the resource for the employers of citizen warriors. ESGR recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of the law, and resolves conflict through mediation.  More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at www.esgr.mil, or by calling 318-290-5246.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
1555 Wilson Blvd., Suite 319, Arlington, VA 22209
800-336-4590  www.esgr.mil
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