Eastman receives military friendly award

Hank Hayes • Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 8:42 AM
KINGSPORT – Eastman Chemical Co. received the Extraordinary Employer Support Award from the Department of Defense program, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), during a ceremony held Monday at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center.

This is only the second time a company in Tennessee has been selected to receive this special recognition.

The background: ESGR’s Extraordinary Employer Support Award was created to recognize sustained employer support of National Guard and Reserve service. Only prior recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award or the Pro Patria Award, who have demonstrated sustained support for three years after receiving one of those awards, are eligible for consideration at the committee level. Subsequent awards may be given in three-year increments from the initial award.

In 2008 Eastman received the Tennessee Pro Patria Award; and in 2013 was recognized nationally as one of 15 companies receiving the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

“You keep raising the bar, Jim Mungenast, a U.S. Air Force retired brigadier general Tennessee ESGR chair, said of Eastman. “It was a no-brainer when the recommendation came to approve an award for Eastman for all you do.”

How Eastman became a military-friendly employer: “After Desert Storm, Eastman realized its military policies weren’t exactly current or up to date … those policies needed to be amended … about 10 years later in the event of the 9/11 terrorist attacks we made some more revisions to those policies,” Jerry Bush, Eastman retiree and Northeast Tennessee ESGR vice chair, said.

In addition to employing veterans and active military members, what else does Eastman do?

Eastman, in its “Supplies for Soldiers” initiative, collected, packed and shipped almost 40,000 items to aid deployed military members around the world.

“I know we invest in our employees, we invest in our veterans,” said Perry Stuckey, Eastman senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “There are very few companies who do what we do … we do business in 100 companies around the world. What I am proud of is how we treat our soldiers and their family members, especially when they are deployed.”

Recently, Eastman also earned the 2018 Military Friendly® Employer and Top 10 Brand designations by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM JobsSM, and Military Spouses.