McGuire-Ft. Dix-Lakehurst: Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler joined the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, in honoring Mercer County Veterans Advocate Edward Mazzeo for his “meritorious leadership and support of the men and women who serve America in the National Guard and Reserve” as well as the veteran community.
Mazzeo, the director of Mercer County Veteran Services, was honored with this prestigious award at a “LAW ENFORCEMENT SHOW OF STRENGTH” event that the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department organized in conjunction with the New Jersey Parole Board and ESGR.
To show the united support of the Mercer County law enforcement community (many who employ citizen soldiers), Kemler invited county police departments, the prosecutor, correctional facilities and community leaders to sign "Statements of Support” attesting that they recognize the Guard and Reserve as essential to the strength of our nation and the well-being of our communities.
ESGR’s mission is to create a culture where all American employers value the military service and sacrifice of their citizen soldiers.
ESGR works with employers to support and value the military service of their employees, and to ensure reservists and National Guard members that their jobs will be waiting for them when they return home from their military service.
Since the attacks on the World Trade Center, America’s reliance on the service of the National Guard and Reserve has intensified. Currently, over 50 percent of troops serving overseas are citizen soldiers who balance their military service with civilian jobs. And in times of national emergency, America’s security cannot be guaranteed without the full participation of our National Guard and Reserve.
The Seven Seals Award is the broadest and most inclusive award given by ESGR, as it may be awarded to employers, ESGR staff members and volunteers, or any person or entity that significantly advances the ESGR mission.
The award’s embossed seven seals represent the emblems of the Army National Guard, United States Army Reserve, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Department of the Navy Naval Reserves, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command and United States Coast Guard Reserve.
Mazzeo proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a "tunnel rat" during his deployment to Vietnam. During that conflict, the "tunnel rats" were tasked with carrying out highly dangerous underground search-and-rescue missions, often ensnared with booby traps and enemies lying in wait in the intricate complex system of tunnels. These warriors were often praised as having "nerves of steel."
Mazzeo served admirably in the civilian sector, retiring from General Motors Corporation after 30 years of service. He has been a resident of Hamilton, N.J. for the past 52 years.
A staunch veterans advocate, Mazzeo has held the position of commander of American Legion Post 313, senior vice commander of American Legion Mercer County, member of the Marine Corps League Detachment 207, member of VFW Post 491, and member of Disabled American Veterans Post 41.
As a warrior or a citizen, Mazzeo exemplified ESGR’s motto, “We All Serve.”