Dr. David Johnson and Frank Casanova receive award for support of military colleague.
Dr. David Johnson, president of Johnston Community College, and Frank Casanova, computer instructor, were recently honored with the Patriot Award.
A recently retired member of the U.S. Army Reserves, networking instructor David Oliver nominated Johnson and Casanova for the award because of their support after he returned from deployment to Afghanistan in 2012. Oliver also served a tour in Iraq in 2006-07.
The Patriot Award is given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating service member and his or her family. Erwin Gutzwiller, ESGR training director of North Carolina, recently presented the plaques to Johnson and Casanova.
Oliver said Casanova, who served as his supervisor at the time, Johnson, and other colleagues at the college checked in with him often to make sure he was making a healthy transition to civilian life and often offered words of support and encouragement.
"Ever since I was deployed, the faculty, students and administration at JCC have always been positive," Oliver said. "They gave me time to get adjusted and offered helpful words whenever I was going back and forth to class. Dr. Johnson made sure he kept ties. I also got several letters from the college and the care packages were very helpful."
Casanova and Johnson said their support was a small gesture compared to Oliver's sacrifice for his country.
"Having spent 24 years in the military myself and retiring as a master sergeant, transitioning to civilian life I know is a little difficult," Casanova said. "I understand what the stresses are having experienced them for myself, and I thank you for your service."
"We are very proud of you for all you've done for our country and for us as an institution of higher learning and being able to prepare students for life ahead," Johnson said.
A native of Erwin, Oliver served a total of 24 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He has taught at JCC for 17 years.
Cut line: Top photo: From left are Dr. David Johnson, JCC president, David Oliver, retired U.S. Army reservist and networking instructor and Erwin Gutzwiller of the ESGR. In second photo, Oliver and Gutzwiller are pictured with Frank Casanova.