The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR), presented Francis Colantonio, President of Colantonio Inc. with its Patriot Award during a recent luncheon held at the firm’s office. The award recognizes outstanding business owners, managers, and supervisors who consistently employ and accommodate the needs of military service members.
ESGR is a Department of Defense committee that works to strengthen support of past and present service members in the civilian workforce. The committee was established in 1972 and is made up of volunteers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ESGR volunteer Alicia Shambo of Hopkinton presented the award.
In his 35 years of business ownership, Colantonio has striven to provide employment and training to veterans and active duty soldiers. His two- and four-year apprentice training programs give preference to veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, ten percent of Colantonio’s employees are veterans or are serving in the Reserves.
Colantonio’s Office Manager, Karen Vecchione, nominated Colantonio for the award. Vecchione served 21 years in the National Guard’s 1058th Transportation Company. She continues to contribute to the Guard as a volunteer with the Family Program, for which she earned recognition last year. The Family Program helps military families become self-sufficient while their loved ones are deployed.
“Once Fran realized how involved I was with the Military, he asked what he could do to help,” Vecchione said in an opening speech at the award luncheon held at Colantonio, Inc. “He allowed me to use our company copier to make copies of items that I needed to ship to the National Conference, and he has donated money and items to help support our State Workshop. Whenever I needed to be flexible with my hours, his response was ‘Whatever you need to do, you do it’. Fran has supported me through every aspect of my military involvement.”
“Fran has gone above and beyond when it comes to service members and their families,” Vecchione added. “He has donated Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas gifts, supermarket gift cards, gas cards and a whole host of other things. He never once looked at it as a burden, but more of a privilege and an honor to help our service members and their families.”