Monday, May 5, 2008

Chrysler Receives Top Honor for Support of Employees Actively Serving in the National Guard and Reserve

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of Military Appreciation Month, today Chrysler honored those employees who have been called to active military duty as members of the Michigan National Guard and United States Military Reserve with a Blue Star Service Flag ceremony at its Auburn Hills Technology Center.
The Blue Star Service Flags are displayed by families and by organizations to honor their members currently serving in the Armed Forces during a period of war or hostilities. The flags were unveiled during a recognition ceremony where soldiers from Selfridge Air National Guard Base and members of the Chrysler Veterans Committee unveiled one flag for each of the 45 employees currently on active duty.
"It is with great respect that we honor the U.S. military tradition by unveiling the Blue Star Service Flags to acknowledge the efforts of Chrysler employees who take on the responsibility of protecting our country," said Bob Nardelli, Chrysler LLC Chairman and CEO. "We are lucky and honored to have this dedicated group of people within the Chrysler family."
One Gold Star Service Flag - representing a Chrysler employee who was killed while serving on active duty - was revealed for Master Sergeant William R. Balinski, Jr. from Richmond, Mich. who was killed in an automobile accident at Fort Benning, Ga. in March 2005. Balinski was a metalworker at Warren Stamping for nine years and had 15 years of military service, which included four years in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield in the Middle East and Operation Just Cause in Panama before joining the U.S. Army Reserves.
"Our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones of the soldiers who have lost their lives while serving our country, especially the Balinski family," added Nardelli.
Nardelli then unveiled the newly designed Chrysler Corporate Service Flag, which combines the recognition sentiments of the blue and gold service stars to show support for all Chrysler employees who are actively serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Chrysler was also honored by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense organization, which presented the company with the 2008 Pro Patria Award during the ceremony. The Pro Patria Award, translated from Latin means "for the country," is presented to one employer in the state each year that demonstrates exceptional support for national defense by adopting personnel policies that allow employees to actively participate in the National Guard and Reserve.
"Chrysler is honored to be recognized for its continuous support of the men and women in the military," said Nardelli. "The Pro Patria award is an extension of Chrysler's continued history of supporting the Armed Forces, which dates back to the 1930s."
"Chrysler exemplifies what the Pro Patria Award stands for with its longstanding support of the men and women who serve our country through its numerous military initiatives," said The Honorable Thomas F. Hall, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "We applaud Chrysler for going above and beyond to support its employees in the National Guard and United States Reserves throughout the years. The company's policies continue to have a positive impact on its employees deployed all over the world."
In further support of Military Appreciation Month, The Chrysler Foundation announced $50,000 donations to the Michigan National Guard and to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that seeks to lift troops' morale, and bring a smile to their faces by sending care packages to service members overseas.
"The Chrysler Foundation is proud to continue our support for the Michigan National Guard and Operation Gratitude," said Frank Fountain, President of The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler LLC Senior Vice President - External Affairs and Public Policy. "Both organizations give so much to our troops, and this gift demonstrates our commitment to supporting their continued success."
Under the direction of Operation Gratitude, the Chrysler Veterans Committee and 80 Chrysler volunteers were present at the event to hand assemble 500 care packages for deployed troops as part of Chrysler's "Honoring Those Who Serve" program. Following the event, the packages will be sent to the Operation Gratitude headquarters for final packing and shipment to active troops currently serving in Iraq.

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