Local business owner wins patriotic employer award while wife serves in Afghanistan

Wednesday August 21, 2013

DUMMERSTON -- Christie Turner is enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, but she's not the only one in her family that serves the country.

And that is why she nominated her husband, Godfrey Renaud, for a Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award, which he received on Friday, Aug. 2.

The couple owns Turner and Renaud Tree & Landscaping in Dummerston but Renaud found himself leading the business by himself when his wife, a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel was deployed to Afghanistan. While in the Middle East, Turner nominated her husband for the award and David Wheel, the executive director of Vermont ESGR, presented Renaud with the award.

Wheel told the Reformer the award is bestowed upon individuals who go above and beyond to accommodate employees who serve in the military. ESGR is a U.S. Department of Defense organization that has for 41 years promoted, recognized and enhanced civilian employer support of citizen soldiers. About 35 to 50 Patriot Awards are given out every year, he said.

Renaud said it was humbling to receive the ESGR award but he is most proud of his wife's service. He said running the company himself has been difficult, though it is nothing compared to the sacrifice Turner is making.

"It's been a challenge, but I'd rather be doing this than be where she is right now," he said Monday. "And I can't reiterate enough that we have some great people working for us."

He said the business, which he started with his wife after they got married in 1987, has about six regular employees and four seasonal workers during the summer. He said each of them have stepped up in Turner's absence and have tried to give a little more to the company.

Renaud said his wife was recently home for about two weeks but has since returned to Afghanistan. He said Turner, who works in logistics and was deployed in January, is due home at the beginning of 2014, and when she returns she will have been in the United States military for 29 years, having joined the National Guard while attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Wheel said the patriotic employer awards are important because they serve the nation too, even though they don't wear a military uniform.

"The employer has to sacrifice as well," he said.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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