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July 11, 2008
By Sue Putnam
Mary Sedgwick, director of field experiences for the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Education, has received the Seven Seals award from the National Guard’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). The Seven Seals award is the highest state award given by ESGR, and is symbolic of the seven U.S. military reserve components: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard reserves, along with the Army and Air National Guard that comprise the Reserve components.
“Spending the day with the Nevada Guard at Nellis Air Force Base was thrilling,” Sedgwick said of her Las Vegas-area experiences. “It brought back memories of my own military service, as I am a Vietnam-era veteran. I was a protocol driver in Kimpo, Korea when I sustained a service-connected injury. As a result, it was necessary to make a career change about 20 years ago, and the military helped me become a teacher.”
Sedgwick obtained her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University and began teaching elementary and special education classes. She’s been working with education interns to provide them with classroom experience for nearly nine years. To her surprise, one of her students nominated her for the Seven Seals award.
“Gilbert Lenz is the real patriot in this story,” Sedgwick said. “He is the Nevada Guardsman and student who nominated me, and he was concerned he would not be able to fulfill the internship requirements because of his active duty orders. I tried to reassure him and arranged a flexible schedule that incorporated his Guard duty. I had no idea the significance of this until I was notified of this award.”
According to ESGR, the Seven Seals is the only award that transcends both the employer and volunteer awards programs given by the organization. ESGR was established in 1972, and distributes approximately 20 Seven Seals awards annually among the more than 2,000 employers of National Guard and Reserve members in Nevada.
Sedgwick also received a Congressional recognition certificate from Nevada representative Jon Porter, and a Patriotic Employer Recognition certificate from the National Committee for ESGR.
“I am thrilled about this award, but more importantly I am honored to have had Gilbert Lenz as one of my students,” Sedgwick said. “I will remember this for the rest of my life, and I am an active member of the Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association. My life was positively and forever changed by the military and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.”