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DNR conservation officer presented with Patriot Award

Sgt. Mark Leadman

Sgt. Mark Leadman, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Marquette, was presented with a Patriot Award today from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The ESGR program is a function of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Patriot Award is presented to supervisors who go above and beyond the call of duty to work with employees who are veterans.

DNR conservation officer Jeremy Sergey, a reserve member of the U.S. Coast Guard, initiated an application to have Leadman honored with the award. Leadman was surprised with the award today at the DNR’s Marquette Customer Service Center.

“Being a member in the reserve is very hard on families with using days off to drill, time spent away from family, and dealing with the stress of deployments. These stressors can be compounded if a member has a supervisor, or an organization that doesn’t understand the sacrifices the reserve member makes to fulfill their duties of being in the reserves,” Sergey said. “Sgt. Leadman has gone above and beyond what is legally required of him when managing members like myself. The simple fact that he schedules my long weekends on drill weekends, so I don’t have to use no-pay military leave, or annual vacation is a huge stress relief for me.

“When I have left for active duty, he has offered to help my wife cut the grass in the summer and shovel the driveway in the winter. When I was gone at drill with a new baby at home, he has checked on my family. He makes my wellbeing a top priority. The Patriot Award is to recognize such examples of true leadership. I felt it my duty to nominate Sgt. Leadman, as he has set the standard on what all supervisors should strive to be who have military reserve subordinates.”

According to the ESGR website, an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family.

“The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed,” the website reads.

Patriot Awards are presented to individual supervisors, not to an entire staff nor an entire organization.

From 1988-91, Leadman was stationed in Aschaffenburg, Germany, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, where he maintained, drove and operated missile launcher vehicles.

Following in the footsteps of his father and two uncles by serving in the armed forces, Leadman always had his heart set on being a conservation officer.

Leadman served the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for a total of six years and currently supervises conservation officers in Baraga and Marquette counties. He has been with the DNR Law Enforcement Division for over 24 years.

The ESGR program was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.

According to the program’s website, “ESGR is supported by a network of more than3,000 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Volunteers, hailing from small business and industry, government, education, and prior military service bring a vast wealth of experience to assist in serving employers, Service members, and their families.

“Together with headquarters ESGR staff, and a small cadre of support staff for each state committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.”

The Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division is a 2022 Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency silver-level Veteran-Friendly Employer.

Find out more about the ESGR and its Patriot Award. Check out a video illustrating the program’s mission.

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Leadman: Sgt. Mark Leadman, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Marquette, was presented with a Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Contact: Ryan Aho, 906-228-6561