On January 10, six Unitarian Universalist Association staff members were awarded the Patriot Award by the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s office of Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). The award is given to individuals who have shown dedicated support for an employee to serve in the U.S. Military Guard or Reserve.
As a religious organization, the UUA is exempt from many aspects of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act, which mandates that employers accommodate their employee reservists. However, the UUA is one of the few religious organizations that voluntarily follow the law, working to ensure that military chaplains have a job to return to after deployment and allowing time off for their stateside military duties. After receiving such support, the Rev. David Pyle, UUA Congregational Life staff and Army Reserve chaplain, made the recommendation for the award.
“When I joined the UUA staff, I did not know whether I would be able to continue my service as a Reserve Military Chaplain,” Pyle said. “When I was told that the Association was choosing to provide those protections even when they did not have to, it made my continued military ministry possible. The support the Association has shown for my ministry has been wonderful. I hope other religious traditions and our congregations follow the example of our Association.”
Those who received the award included UUA President Peter Morales; the Rev. Harlan Limpert, chief operating officer; the Rev. Scott Tayler, director of Congregational Life; the Rev. Sarah Lammert, director of Ministries and Faith Development; the Rev. Megan Foley, Congregational Life consultant; and Rob Molla, director of Human Resources. The award was presented by Paul Desmond, director of training, ESGR Massachusetts.
Pyle said the UUA also received the award in part because of its resources for welcoming military families.
A version of this article was first published on January 17, 2017, on UUA.org.