Lakes High School principal Kären Mauer-Smith received the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award Nov. 7 for supporting veterans. The ESGR Patriot Award rewards and promotes better and ongoing relations between the National Guard, reserves and employers. The award recognizes supervisors for support provided directly to reservists. Mauer-Smith was nominated for the award by Lakes history teacher Greg Kepner, who is a sergeant in the Washington Army National Guard.
“The Lakes family has fully supported me as a member of the Washington Army National Guard,” said Sgt. Kepner. “I was mobilized in November 2003 and spent a year in Iraq. When I came home from the war 27 months later, the administration and faculty at Lakes welcomed me back with open arms and have fully supported me as I continue to recover from injuries I received while serving.”
Wayne Hilton, a volunteer with the local ESGR agency at Camp Murray, was part of Lakes’ first graduating class in 1964. He presented the award to Mauer-Smith along with other veterans, including former Lakes history teacher Robert Peterson, who taught Hilton when he went to Lakes.
“Sgt. Kepner wanted to publicly thank principal Mauer-Smith her for her total support of veterans,” said Hilton.
In addition to the award, the high school received a “Statement of Support” certificate and several “challenge” coins were given to Mauer-Smith and Lakes’ Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) teachers.
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Caption: (left to right) Veterans Robert Peterson, Wayne Hilton and David West present Lakes High School Principal Kären Mauer-Smith with the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award on Nov. 7 for supporting veterans. Photo credit: Rashida Hampton.