City attorney receives award for support of military employees

Pine Bluff City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott pointed to her military family upbringing as the source of the qualities that led to her receiving the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve Patriot Award presented to her in the City Hall courtyard Friday afternoon.

Assistant City Attorney and Arkansas National Guard 1st Lt. Daryl A. Taylor-Atkins nominated Hadden-Scott for the honor.

“I nominated Althea for this award because she has gone above and beyond what is required of an employer with National Guard employees,” Taylor-Atkins said. “She allowed the entire office staff to come up to Jacksonville for the ceremony when I entered the Guard on Dec. 14, 2012. That meant so much to me.

“I was going through a difficult period during my training and Althea was always phoning me and texting me to offer words of encouragement as well as suggestions,” Taylor-Atkins said. “She has been extremely supportive of me.”

Hadden-Scott expressed her thanks for the award.

“Doing what I do for my staff really comes second nature to me,” Hadden-Scott said. “I am the product of a military family. My father served in the United States Air Force for 28 years. I was in the U. S. Army for three years and my husband served in the U. S. Marine Corps for 20 years.

“I remember the first time that I really experienced the pride of being an American,” Hadden-Scott said. “My father served a three year tour of duty in Manheim, Germany, when I was a teenager. I was able to travel to a number of countries and the experience was great. But when his tour was over, I remember we had an eight-hour flight back to the United States. We landed in Bangor, Maine, and I remember when I stepped off that plane and onto American soil again for the first time in three years I was overcome with emotion. My throat tightened a bit.

“I realized that the freedoms that we enjoy in this country are secured by our men and women in uniform,” Hadden-Scott said.

Retired Command Chief Master Sargent Normal Gilchrist of the Arkansas Air National Guard explained the significance of the Patriot Award.

“As Guardsmen we are getting better at what we do,” Gilchrist said. “Everyone, I want you to reach out and touch the person next to you. As Guardsmen we touch lives through service. Employer support of our Guardsmen and Reservists is vital to our mission. As such, we seek to recognize those employers who treat their Guard and Reserve employees fairly.

“We think about our communities and that we serve them as citizen soldiers,” Gilchrist said.