Feb. 13, 2017
Harlan Harrell, AACC military/veteran retention advisor, knew he was receiving the Patriot Award from Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) on the afternoon of Feb. 8. What he didn’t expect was the second plaque.
Surprise was evident on his face as Jean Hulet, Maryland state chair of the ESGR, handed over the “rare award,” the Seven Seals recognition. “I’m in my fifth year as chair and I’ve only given out four,” Hulet said. “I give it to the best of the best for what they do, and this organization fits that.” Seven Seals is given for meritorious leadership and initiative in support of the men and women who serve in the reserve’s seven services: Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve.
AACC’s Military/Veteran Resource Center (MVRC) serves active duty personnel, veterans and military families on campus. Harrell was nominated for the Patriot Award by reservist and AACC student Ben Beares, a work-study in the MVRC. The Patriot Award is given to individual supervisors and reflects the effort made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, and caring for families.
Hulet, part of the completely volunteer outfit under the Department of Defense, said they rely on others to recognize leadership and devotion.
“On behalf of Ben, we’re thanking you for your support, your service and your dedication to his needs and the needs of this organization,” she said. Harrell beamed as he received the awards.
“Leadership is hard,” he said, addressing the room of fellow Student Achievement and Success Program employees and student-veterans in the MVRC. “I’m surrounded by leaders and I think that’s my strength, to also follow the other leaders who are also following me. This is for all of us; I’m so glad that everyone gets an award today.”