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Arizona's ESGR, servicemembers honor Senator McCain

Col. Greg Stroud, left, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Ed Maxwell, vice wing commander, present U.S. Senator John McCain with an ESGR certificate of support, April 16, for his work in Congress to pass legislation supporting the Reserve component. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Gabe Johnson)

Col. Greg Stroud, left, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Ed Maxwell, vice wing commander, present U.S. Senator John McCain with an ESGR certificate of support, April 16, for his work in Congress to pass legislation supporting the Reserve component. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Gabe Johnson)

Bill Valenzuela presents a framed ESGR certificate of support to U.S. Senator John McCain April 16. Valenzuela is a veteran of the Korean War having served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Today he continues to serve the military as Arizona State Chair Emeritus for the National Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Through ESGR, he promotes understanding and support between employers and their National Guard and Reserve member employees. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Gabe Johnson)

Bill Valenzuela presents a framed ESGR certificate of support to U.S. Senator John McCain April 16. Valenzuela is a veteran of the Korean War having served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Today he continues to serve the military as Arizona State Chair Emeritus for the National Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Through ESGR, he promotes understanding and support between employers and their National Guard and Reserve member employees. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Gabe Johnson)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- In partnership with Arizona Guardsmen and Reservists the state's chapter of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recognized U.S. Senator John McCain for his support of America's Citizen-Servicemembers, here April 16.

Bill Valenzuela, Arizona State Chair Emeritus for ESGR, and Col. Greg Stroud, the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing commander, presented the senator a framed certificate of support and a medallion from ESGR during the Tucson Chamber of Commerce National Issues Forum luncheon at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort where McCain was the guest speaker.

"This certificate is in appreciation for all he has done for the Guard and Reserves," said Valenzuela. "When we presented it to him we could see in his face how thrilled he was."

As a member of ESGR and the Army Reserve Ambassadorship, Valenzuela worked with Senator McCain to introduce several bills designed to benefit the Guard and Reserve.

"My experience from working with him is that he is 105 percent with the Guard and Reserve; helping us pass our bills, getting us what we need, he's always been there for us. He helped me with every bill that I took him and made sure that his colleagues helped him pass it. He's quite a guy," he said.

The senator made it a point to shake hands with the dozen Guardsmen and Reservists in attendance and thank them for their service. Arizona Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines were all represented at the presentation.

"Not since World War II have our Guard and Reserves been so heavily relied upon and they are performing superbly," said Senator McCain. "Of course, I am very proud to have members of the military here today. I'm always proud to be in their company."

To Valenzuela he added, "I want to thank you for your support of the military and continued efforts on behalf of the men and women who are serving."

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. Its mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflicts through mediation.