National Guard Infantryman Eric Petz to presents the Patriot Award to his employer John Delzer. John’s wife, Toni, stands by with a proud smile.

A flight for patriotism

Delzer Diversified honored with patriotic employer
“My boss John has allowed me to pursue my military Army career and maintain my fulltime job. He is more than flexible with my ever-increasing training schedule. It would not be possible without his full support. I am incredible thankful that I work for a true American patriot who fully supports the military,” Petz wrote in his letter of recommendation, which was read by Mahn at the celebration.

John and Toni Delzer, owners of Delzer Diversified, a long-standing Big Sky snow and ice maintenance company, will soon get to fly in a Chinook or Blackhawk helicopter – a surprise which led to many high fives and mile-wide grins.

John thought he was going to a Christmas party at Caliber Café on Dec. 21. Instead, he was surrounded by 50 friends, family and employees to celebrate a patriotic achievement. Karl Mahn, a representative of the Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve traveled from Belgrade to present John with an honor only 10 other employers in the region have attained this year: the Patriot Award.

The honor from the United States Department of Defense was spurred on account of a letter written by Delzer Diversified employee and National Guard Infantryman Eric Petz who wrote to point out how “awesome and supportive” Delzer Diversified is.

“I submitted it in October and didn’t think he got it and then a couple of days ago they said, ‘Hey, by the way, we’ve got an award for your boss,’” Petz said.

Mahn said ESGR serves as advocates for reserve and guard members to help them “recognize their employers for their sacrifices–in many cases– to let them go and support the state and nation through their service in the reserve component.”

“On the media side a lot of people don’t understand that these guys put on a uniform. [Petz] is a dismounted infantryman on a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle – we just got the most current version of the Bradley fighting vehicle here in Montana,” Mahn said noting they have cutting-edge equipment and training.

Mahn explained that his service in the National Guard led to his understanding of the reliance on employers to be able to give time off to service members.

“My boss John has allowed me to pursue my military Army career and maintain my fulltime job. He is more than flexible with my ever-increasing training schedule. It would not be possible without his full support. I am incredible thankful that I work for a true American patriot who fully supports the military,” Petz wrote in his letter of recommendation, which was read by Mahn at the celebration.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program with the goal of fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the military service of the Montana National Guard and the reserve of the United States.

“I do want to include my wife because we make our decisions together,” John said while pulling Toni into a hug as the crowd cheered.

Troy Downing, an Air Force/Air National Guard combat veteran said that many times national guardsmen and women are juggling the stresses and complications of civilian lives while fighting for our nation.

“I am proud of the Delzers for making this easy, supporting our troops, employing them, and knowing that sometimes they get called to duty. It was an honor to participate in John getting recognized with the Patriotic Employer Award showing his commitment to the cause and support of our troops,” Downing said. 

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