BREWER, Maine — The auto dealership Darling’s was the recipient Wednesday of the Seven Seals Award from the U.S. military’s Employer Support Guard and Reserve Program.
Sgt. Steve Webber, team service manager at Darling’s and a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, nominated the company for the award. Webber said he nominated Darling’s because of the support he received while he was deployed in Kandahar and Kabul, Afghanistan. Webber, who has been with Darling’s for two and a half years, said the company never questioned the time he needed off from work, even in the training phase leading up to his deployment, which lasted a total of one year.
He said his employers also made sure that his time spent on the road as part of his job was lessened so he would have more time to spend with his family before going overseas. The company’s graphics department also made a Flat Daddy of him to give to his children.
Throughout deployment, Webber said, employers kept in touch with him and helped ease his return to work so that it was on his terms. “It’s the environment they have created throughout the company,” he said. “Even though they are a large company, they have retained that family, small-business type of atmosphere.”
Gregory Small, executive director for the Maine committee of the employer support program, presented the award at Darling’s corporate office in Brewer.
The Employer Support Guard and Reserve Program is a U.S. Department of Defense organization that fosters employer support for Guard and Reserve members. The award recognizes outstanding patriotic support on the part of employers to employees who have been called to active military service. The Seven Seals Award is one of the highest awards the Guard and Reserve program gives.