“Hey, boss, I’ve got to miss work for the next month straight.”
Try this at work. It normally won’t go so well. But Andrew Raisor never has to sweat the scenario.
Andrew works on the security staff at French Lick Resort, and occasionally he’ll trade in the officer uniform of his day job for the soldier fatigues of another venture. After serving in Afghanistan for nine months in 2013-14, Andrew is still active with the National Guard. Workplace flexibility allows him to continue serving with the Guard with minimal headaches — aside from the ones that might come with the responsibility of driving some heavy artillery for the military. (“Anything with big wheels, I drive it,” Andrew says with a laugh.)
Comfortably transitioning back and forth from military life to civilian life can be tough, but the process has been hassle-free for Andrew and that’s why he nominated French Lick Resort to receive the Patriot Award given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which is a branch of the Department of Defense.
“It was very easy for me to get my job done for the military, because my job here is very understanding about what needed to be done,” Andrew said. “I’ve had other jobs where I’ve had a lot of problems because of my drills or my training, even though I give them plenty of time in advance to know. It is very nice where I don’t have to worry about it.”
Not only that, but Andrew finds that people around work are asking him, “Do you need anything else?” in terms of making life easier when time comes due for his military duties. “They ask questions whether I’m needing something else and making sure I’m taken care of.”
Andrew’s work stint at French Lick Resort (two years) has been brief compared to his time in the military (almost 10 years), but there’s a good reason why his boss accommodates whenever he needs time away: “I’ve got a boy that was in the military, my father and my grandfather were in the military … it’s part of life. It’s patriotic duty, and I admire all the people in the service,” said Mark Franklin, the resort’s director of security. “I’ll do anything I can to make sure that the employee gets the time off to do whatever they need to do.”
For Andrew, that means being away one weekend per month for National Guard obligations in Franklin, Indiana — almost 100 miles away where his unit is based. Every summer, he has a two-week Guard commitment. More extensive training once took him to Lithuania for an entire month.
He adjusts his French Lick schedule to get in the necessary hours without having to burn vacation time when he’s away. Even for those unexpected absences. “I had a few pop-up details that came up (with the Guard) that I got volunteered for, and everybody here moved very seamlessly,” he said.
It’s not just a French Lick Resort thing. It’s an Indiana thing as well.
“Indiana has some of the best employers and the best people in the country at taking care of soldiers in the military,” said Jackie Ash, of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Indiana Committee, who was here at French Lick Resort earlier this week to present the award. In terms of these “statement of support” commendations, “Indiana is usually within the top 3 or 5 of the country,” Ash points out.
Even better for Andrew? The number of co-workers he’s found at French Lick who have also served in the military and can relate to his stories from the front lines.
“That’s another great thing about this job. We get to come back and talk about our war stories once in a while and hang out, just like we do in the Guard.”