DuWayne Wichman, left, manager at Webster’s Marketplace, sees his award for the first time as volunteer Jerry Clusen presents it to him.
DuWayne Wichman, left, manager at Webster’s Marketplace, sees his award for the first time as volunteer Jerry Clusen presents it to him.

   DuWayne Wichman saw the plaque, and was immediately overwhelmed.

   “Oh my gosh; this is so cool!” he said.

   The emotion was spontaneous and genuine, and came as he and Candie Baker of Webster’s Marketplace received Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve [ESGR] Patriot Awards.

   The award is given to “individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to [a] service member and his or her family,” according to the ESGR website. “The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.”

   In this case, Baker and Wichman were nominated by Cpl. Jonathan Samela, an employee of Webster’s Marketplace.

   “I don’t deserve this at all,” Wichman said as he learned of his Patriot Award. “Jonathan, thank you. This is really [unexpected].”

Read the full story, including comments from Salmela about why he nominated the two, in the April 20, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.