Auto Zone of Cortez distribution manager Scott Hunter on Friday was recognized with a Patriot Award for his willingness to support employees who are enlisted in the National Guard and Reserve.
Auto Zone manager Cordell Thompson, who also works as a communications specialist for the 919th Company of the Military Police in Farmington, nominated Hunter for the award. Even though Thompson works full-time at Auto Zone, Hunter allows him time off for duty, Thompson said.
“He always allows me to leave on time or early to do my duty, and I’ve never had any issues,” Thompson said.
Hunter said Thompson does an excellent job. He said he seeks out people in the military when hiring employees, and he considers them very high-value team members.
“This is a great honor,” Hunter said. “I do everything I can to work with active-duty employees.”
Hunter was grateful for the award, but he said the people serving in the military deserve most of the recognition. Hunter was previously a manager of an Auto Zone in Ogden, Utah, near Hill Air Force Base. He employed many military service members while working in Ogden, he said. Members of the military are good employees because they have a great work ethic and are good at following instructions, Hunter said.
The Employer Support of Guard and Reserve program was set up to educate employers and employees regarding the laws for military service members, said Cortez veterans advocate Robert Valencia. The Patriot Award recognizes those employers who have gone above and beyond in working with military employees.
“It honors the employers for working with the people that serve our country,” Valencia said.
Employers must allow their employees time off when they are called on for military service duty, Valencia said. Their job also must be made available to them after they return from service, he said. The laws exist to protect employees and their employers, he added.
“Hopefully we can help educate the employers and reservists,” Valencia said.