DoD honors Mass. fire chief for support to veterans
Fire Chief Jason Gilliland was presented with two awards based on a letter written by Firefighter Kraig Hill
Wicked Local North, Danvers, Mass.
MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — George Charos usually spends his time fighting with employers to protect the jobs of those serving in the National Guard and Reserves, but Monday he got to celebrate one.
Charos, a Marbleheader and the local representative of Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve (ESRG) for the U.S. Department of Defense, presented Fire Chief Jason Gilliland with two awards based on a letter written by Firefighter Kraig Hill.
"I'm honored," Gilliland said when Charos handed the Patriot Award, "For Contributing to National Security and Protecting Liberty & Freedom By Supporting Employee Participation in America's National Guard and Reserve Force."
He did a double take when Charos handed him a second plaque, the "Above and Beyond Award," for outstanding service and continued support of National Defense.
"I'm truly honored," Gilliland said. "I've never served in the military, but I have huge respect for those that do."
Hill said he learned of the awards when he was away at a training exercise. Since joining the Marblehead Fire Department, Hill said he's had the full support of Gilliland for any military training or service that he's been required to take part in.
"He's always been super supportive of all the veteran and National Guard Reservists," Hill said.
Gilliland instituted Red Shirt Fridays, which is a public thank you to military men and women, and adopted the Brave Act, legislation that provides additional support for veterans and their families, as soon as Gov. Charlie Baker signed it, Hill said.
"With all the support he gives, it was a no brainer to write up an essay," he said.
Charos said the kind of support Gilliland shows veterans isn't always the case.
"I spend most of my time clashing with employers," he said.
The Marblehead Fire Department has a lot of veterans, Gilliland pointed out. Along with Hill, Capt. Eric Ridge and firefighters Jared Dwyer, Joseph Gray, Micah Alden-Danforth, Matt Christensen, James Horgan, Jeff Greenberg, Matthew Tina and Mark Barcamonte have also served in the military.
"It is the least we can do for them with the service they provide for our country," Gilliland said. "They come in and do the job and this is the least we can do. I am very honored."
©2019 Wicked Local North, Danvers, Mass.