Leaving family behind is tough enough for members of the National Guard or the Reserves who are deployed to Middle East danger zones but the concern for their physical and financial needs can be even more troubling.
That concern weighed heavily on Terry Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE Inc., when the problem was brought to his attention. After reviewing the situation, Lanni ordered that all employees who were dispatched to serve in a foreign military zone would be fully compensated, just as if they continued in their regular job.
As a result, MGM MIRAGE was awarded the 2006 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, one of only 15 companies to be so honored nationally.
The award was described as the "highest honor a company can receive from the Department of Defense for exceptional support above the requirements of federal law."
Upon receiving the award, Lanni remarked, "When called to serve, employees and their families should not concern themselves with questions about pay and benefits. Their only concern should be their service to our nation. MGM MIRAGE is extremely proud to support these employees and to accept this award on their behalf."
As part of its benefits package, the company provides employees who are deployed with 100% of their base pay. Average tip income is also provided to eligible employees. Additionally, health benefits are continued at no cost to employees serving in a declared U.S. military action.
Also receiving the award was the Sun Valley General Improvement District in the Reno, Nev., area.
Gov. Kenny Guinn reacted with the statement that read: "The State of Nevada joins the ESGR in commending (these companies) for their tremendous support of National Guard and Reserve service members.
As for MGM MIRAGE, Guinn said, "(It’s) community investment has been incredibly beneficial to numerous Nevadans, and their exceptional record of service is a reflection of their commitment to providing essential resources to our communities that will be very important for future generations."
The company has some two dozen employees currently deployed to military zones.