Southern Company Received the Pro Patria Award for its Leadership in Providing Benefits to Military Employees

In the News

May 17, 2010

Southern Company Received the Pro Patria Award for its Leadership in Providing Benefits to Military Employees

Southern Company has received two Department of Defense awards for its military leadership practices and military leave benefits.

Southern Company received the Pro Patria Award, and Southern Nuclear received an Above and Beyond Award from the Georgia committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

The Pro Patria Award is presented to one small and one large employer in the committee's state or territory each year.

We are a military-friendly company and that's something that ought to be recognized," said Jerome Richard, a program strategist for Southern Company who is responsible for recruiting military candidates.

At the awards banquet in Atlanta, retired Lt. Col. Tom McKennie described Southern Company's long history of support to the National Guard and Reserve and the entire military community, saying the company's pay and benefits policy for employees serving on military duty is rivaled by none."

He also cited the company's sponsorship of a national online job board – Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans – and its $10,000 donation to the Georgia National Guard's Youth Challenge Program, which targets at-risk youth with academic and life-skills training.

The Above and Beyond Award given to Southern Nuclear recognizes employers at the state and local level who go beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by employees.

When deployed, company officers called my family to see if they needed anything," said Charles Smiley, a nuclear apprentice at Plant Vogtle who submitted the nomination.

A major in the Reserves, Smiley has been on active duty status since 2002 with only a few short breaks.

I have never had to worry about my civilian employment while on active duty," Smiley wrote in his nomination. I know that Southern Nuclear can always be counted on to do what's right. The company offers their soldiers the option of continuing benefits coverage. They also continue to pay employee bonuses despite the fact that the service member is not present."

Members of the National Guard and Reserve make up about 48 percent of available military personnel, according to the ESGR, which contends that, because such a large number of reservists have been called to active duty to support of the war on terror, civilian employers play a critical role in the defense of the nation by protecting the rights of workers in the military.