by Marty Mayfield
RATON — Raton Police Chief John Garcia received a Patriotic Employer Award on Friday afternoon from National Guard Tech-Sergeant and Raton Police Officer Nicolina Villani-Martinez for his support of her and the National Guard duties that pull her away from her duties on the Raton Police Department.
Villani-Martinez nominated her supervisor for the award, which honors supervisors for their superior support given to guard and reserve employees who are called for duty and away from their civilian jobs. The Patriotic Award is presented to the employer for contributing to the national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in the American National Guard and Reserve forces.
Villani-Martinez not only thanked the chief for his support, but also her fellow officers who pick up extra shifts to cover for her while she is away on duty. This award comes as Villani-Martinez prepares for a trip to England in October to work security for the Royal Air Force at a special joint operation. She is a member of the 302nd Airlift Wing Security Forces with the Colorado National Guard out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Raton Police Department Sergeant Orlando Avila is also a National Guard First Sergeant with the New Mexico National Guard.
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense volunteer organization, with volunteers nationwide to help support employers to support the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. They assist in compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act.