Facebook Pixel Tracking

Moraine Park Receives Prestigious Award from Department of Defense

american flag

Moraine Park Technical College has been named the top Wisconsin public sector employer, earning the state Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Pro Patria Award, from the Secretary of Defense. The College was recognized at the March 23 banquet and in addition to the ESGR Pro Patria Award, the College also received the Seven Seals and Patriot awards.

The ESGR Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve members. This year, the ESGR received 1,758 nominations from employers throughout all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia. The College received the top award for the Wisconsin public sector employers and is one of 30 finalists being considered for the Federal ESGR Freedom award. The finalists include small and large private and public sector employers nominated by a National Guard or Reserve Component employee employed in their organization.

Moraine Park’s award nominations were submitted by MPTC employee, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Lieburn, United States Air Force (USAF), who has been serving on a recall to active duty order for the last five years. Prior to his deployment, Lieburn served as Moraine Park’s dean of students for more than 10 years and was a resident of the Kiel area, where he actively served on the school board, local chamber and throughout the community. In 2019, Lieburn received his first order to serve, which was expected to span 6 months at his Air National Guard unit, the 115th Fighter Wing, Truax Field, in Madison. Shortly before the end of his term, his active-duty assignment was extended–lasting nearly five years. Lieburn is set to retire from the USAF on June 1 and will return to MPTC to resume his role as dean of students on June 17.

“A lot has changed since I was originally called to duty,” Lieburn said. “The College went above and beyond in supporting me. I have been gone for so long that everyone in Human Resources who was originally involved during my initial departure has either retired or left the College. The staff who replaced them have been amazing and took the time to get to know me from afar, learn about military leave and have offered me support in many ways.”

Lieburn has been on an active-duty assignment as an Inspector General (IG)/Investigating Officer for the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General, Complaints Resolution Directorate (SAF/IGQ) based at the Pentagon and has stated the endless support from MPTC leadership and colleagues has helped him remain focused on his missions without carrying the stress of job stability after his deployment–often a significant worry as active-duty personnel prepare to transition back to civilian life.

“MPTC has been amazing in supporting me and the other service members and veterans who are employees. This is not always the norm, but it should be,” Lieburn said. “In addition to the MPTC employees and colleagues reaching out and making an effort to remain connected, the College kept my title the same, asked for my input on who could best cover my duties while I was away, allowed me to keep my college email and correspond with others, and asked for my input hiring new staff members. I truly felt like I was still part of the team even though I was not physically present.”

In addition to the Pro Patria award, the College received three additional awards: Seven Seals, Patriot and Above and Beyond. Lieburn nominated Moraine Park’s Student Services team for the Seven Seals Award to recognize their work in carrying forward his role and duties in his absence. The Patriot Award honored Kim Schwamn, director of student development at Moraine Park, for carrying forward the essential dean of student job duties and her commitment to remaining connected with Lieburn throughout his assignment– ensuring he remained a valuable team member. Finally, the Above and Beyond award recognizes employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits.

“Soon I will return to MPTC and there are many nerves that surround this upcoming transition,” Lieburn said. “I know these feelings are very normal – I have been away for many years and so much of the College has changed; however, the endless support I have received, some from people I have never worked with, reassures me that the College will continue to support me as I make my return. For these reasons, and more, Moraine Park is more than deserving of this award and it is an honor to nominate them.”

Moraine Park Technical College is among the top ten percent of all employers nationwide that have been recognized with this award. The Department of Defense will announce the 15 employers selected to receive the 2024 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award early this summer. The awards will be presented in August at the Pentagon.

March 28th, 2024by Kristina Haensgen