Robert Munden, an active member of the U.S. Army National Reserve and current faculty of Whitehall-Coplay, honored the school district with an awards presentation at Monday’s Board of Directors Meeting.
The awards were given as a part of the Army’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program (ESGR), whose official mission is “[to] foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States.”
“It’s just saying thanks from the Army Reserves,” said Munden of the awards. “[The National Reserves] want to have a good relationship between employers and their service members.”
Munden, an active member of the National Reserves, has served nearly 10 years, most recently holding the rank of sergeant. In August he joined the Whitehall-Coplay school district as a special education teacher.
“Thank you and congratulations on all your success,” said Board President Eileen Abruzzi as Munden presented various plaques and medals.
One of these awards was a challenge coin, a longstanding tradition of the U.S. Army, as Munden described. It is used to signify not only membership but also performance of duty or outstanding service. Munden joked that it is also used as a to service members to engage in friendly one-upmanship by rank.
“The Army has done a better job in recent years of recognizing its service member employers,” said Sergeant Munden reflecting on the Army’s initiatives to further bridge the gap between members and employers.
The plaques and awards will be prominently featured in a yet to-be-determined location in the Whitehall-Coplay district office.
The school district hired Munden this past March following a rather unconventional hiring process.
“They actually hired me while I was in Afghanistan serving with the Army reserves,” said Munden in an interview. “They did my interviews over Skype. My wife is from Emmaus that’s how I ended up here.”
Munden is now set to continue his latest tour of duty: as a Lehigh Valley public school teacher.