Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey knows what it’s like to serve his country.
Toomey, a Sussex County native, first enlisted in the National Guard in 1973 but took a 19-year break in service before returning to the Guard. He was last deployed to Afghanistan for a year — from 2012 to 2013 — and has since retired as Guard sergeant-first-class in the Maryland National Guard.
Toomey was recently recognized by the Delaware Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) committee with the Patriot Award, in recognition of his outstanding support to his Air National Guard employee Officer James Joles.
“The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who, like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delaware ESGR state chair. “Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States.
Joles nominated Toomey, noting his dedication and support of those in military service.
“My chief made every effort in the world to hire me after finding out that I was currently in the National Guard,” wrote Joles in his nomination letter. “He has never once questioned my commitment and has always been there to give positive advice, both in the law-enforcement world and the military world. Chief Toomey is a retired Senior NCO from the Maryland National Guard and is very familiar with and supportive of my military career and obligations.
“Chief Toomey has always put my military career above my law enforcement, and for a supervisor to do that and not question any of my obligations deserves more than just a piece of paper with an awards declaration on it. He deserves gratitude and respect. I will forever be in Chief Floyd Toomey’s debt, and so should our National Guard and citizens.”
Dagsboro Mayor Brian Baull applauded Toomey’s recognition, stating the Town believes it’s important to support their employees.
“The Chief is doing a great job in our department. Anybody who serves our country should be lauded for their efforts. If you pick up a gun and are defending our country, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be applauded for a job well done. If it ties in with your regular job duty, I think all the better.”
Paulette M. Mason, volunteer support technician for DE-ESGR, said employer support is critical for soldiers.
“It’s very important that when our Guard are called up to serve, that they’re not worried about their jobs back home. That’s the mission of the ESGR — to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said. “We try to develop a relationship with their employers. For an employer to be supportive, it’s so important for the service member, because that will let the service member focus on their task at hand — especially if they’re on a deployment or in-theater. A supportive employer is absolutely key in a service member’s deployment.”
“Without the support of the employer, the National Guard could not function to its fullest capacity,” added Toomey. “In the times we are currently in, these National Guard units are frequently called to active service to serve in foreign lands, protecting the interests of the United States. It’s just very valuable for the employer to support those National Guard employees, and reservists, for that matter.”
Toomey said he did not know about the award until June 19, when it was presented to him at the police department.
“It was an honor and a surprise… I don’t know what else to say other than that. The Town had supported me during my service, and I continued that tradition with Officer Joles, in trying to make the schedule accommodate the Guard’s needs, as well as our own. I just never expected any type of recognition,” he said. “It was a pleasant surprise. Quite honestly, I thought I was doing my job and protecting his rights as a citizen soldier.”
For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.