Breakfast kicks off Armed Forces Week

Posted at 12:27 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 14:06:13-04

Milwaukee’s Armed Forces Week began on Monday morning with a breakfast put on by the organization Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The breakfast honored employers who hire military reservists.

“If we didn't have employers for our reservists to come back to, we wouldn't have a reserve component,” said Bruce Swezey, the state Vice Chairman for ESGR.

Four reservsists were also presented with the prestigious, Maj. Richard I. Bong Award, which is named after the top American “ace” of all wars. Bong destroyed 40 enemy aircrafts in aerial combat during his time in the U.S. Military.

The Maj. Richard I. Bong Award is awarded by Milwaukee’s Armed Services Committee.

Committee Co-Chair Capt. Amy Cocanour, of the U.S. Coast Guard, said the award recognizes outstanding leadership, military service and community service.

“It’s for those who do their job, do it well, serve the people they work with and serve the community here in Wisconsin,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for us to recognize some of our outstanding reservists.”

This year’s recipients are:

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Laura Garofalo, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Builder 3rd Class Patrick Diggs-Davis, U.S. Navy Reserve

Quality Assurance Inspector MSgt. Robin Pagel, Wis. Air National Guard

Administration NCO SSG Jennifer Salomon, Wis. Army National Guard

Salomon, who received praise for her leadership ability, performance in the U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition, and administrative support for Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers, said she was humbled.

“It’s a huge deal to me, a very big honor,” Salomon said.

Milwaukee’s Armed Forces week runs through Saturday. For a list of events, click here.