GOFFSTOWN, N.H. (AP) – Several New Hampshire employers and individuals were honored this weekend for their extra effort in supporting citizen soldiers.

The New Hampshire Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented several “Patriot Awards” to recipients nominated by National Guard or Reserve members.

Recipients included Thomas Arseneault, president of the Sensor Systems section of BAE Systems; George Hannafin, vice president at Symmetry Medical Polyvac of Manchester; Robert Burghoff of General Electric Healthcare of Raymond; William Chapman of Sturm Ruger Co. Newport; and William Manzer, president and CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports of Peterborough.

More than 85 BAE employees have been called up for service. Arseneault and the company were cited for strong support, such as collecting items for the troops, including donating 1,000 bikes to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Instead of accepting gifts at the end of the year, Arseneault’s entire work group donated $5,000 to the 3rd Cavalry Association.

Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Alfredo Negron wrote that Symmetry Medical Polyvac colleagues constantly sent packages and letters of support while he was deployed and the company quickly retrained him in new procedures and a new computer system when he returned.

General Electric Healthcare was cited for supporting a deployed Army Reserve soldier who had to leave for annual training and extra leave before being deployed.

“My employer and fellow workers supported me four square,” wrote Staff Sgt. Michael Collishaw.

National Guard PFC Isaiah Whitman wrote the committee that Sturm Ruger gave him a pay advance for vacation before leaving for Iraq and asked if he wanted a leave of absence before deployment. The company also made up the difference between his civilian and military pay.

Eastern Mountain Sports was nominated by Lt. Col. Paul Novello of the New Jersey Air National Guard. He said the company has been flexible with his schedule as full-time commander of his squadron. “During the recent power outage in New York, (the company) allowed me to coordinate the initial response right from my shift at the store,” Novello wrote.

Among other awards, Victoria Lemire at Citizens Bank in Goffstown was cited for leading the bank’s effort to collect and send hundreds of pounds of materials to all deployed units from New Hampshire. She also helped hand sew and deliver quilts to wounded vets.

Sheila Morris, at the Swiftwater Girl Scouts Council, was honored for working with several scout troops to send Girl Scout cookies and cards to hundreds of New Hampshire military members. She personally paid for the shipping.

Nashua Attorney Paul Moore was honored for founding a program that soldiers now call “Moore-Mart.” It started when he sent items to his National Guard brother, Sgt. Brian Moore, and his colleagues in Iraq. As the program expanded to serve other troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers said Moore had more supplies than Wal-Mart, so they call his effort “Moore-Mart.”

The group also honored New Hampshire’s Department of Employment Security for supporting its employees who serve and working to ease returned soldiers into civilian life.

AP-ES-05-31-08 1155EDT

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