Wentzville School District Receives Freedom Award

  • Published
  • By Matthew Deichmann,Wentzville R-IV School District
  • Special to the 131st
Frontier Middle School and the Wentzville School District have received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The Freedom award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for the support of employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

Frontier Middle School teacher and First Lieutenant, Ken Kasten of the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, nominated Principal Phil Ragusky and the District for their efforts on his behalf.

"I have been away from my teaching job several times due to various deployments and training requirements," said Lt. Kasten. "I have appreciated all of the support and understanding that I have had working for Phil and the District while having to be away."

Nominations for the Freedom Award must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member. 

The Wentzville School District has received multiple nominations according to Karen Levy, the Missouri Employer Outreach Coordinator. "To be given the Freedom Award, it means that you have many employees that have said that their employer, the Wentzville School District, has supported them by supporting their family, holding their job, supporting them while they were overseas, maybe doing some good things for their family while they were overseas, and then when they got back, helping them with re-entry back into their job here at Wentzville," said Levy. "So it's a really, really, really high honor with the Department of Defense to be able to get the Freedom Award."

"I've always been very fortunate and well taken care of and supported," added Lt. Kasten. "They had a ceremony when I returned from my officer training. The whole school was there and caught me by surprise and presented me with several student-made certificates and letters of thanks. So it was just very humbling and rewarding at the same time."

Almost half of the U.S. military is comprised of the Guard and Reserve. The Freedom award is presented annually by the United States Secretary of Defense to recognize those employers who provide the most outstanding support for their Guard and Reserve employees.