|Major Aniela Szymanski in Afghanistan|
It isn't written about nearly enough, but being a Reservist in the United States military during wartime is a very trying time for these individuals and their loved ones. It's undoubtedly very tough to just drop everything, put your life and career on hold, and deploy to war. Understanding and supportive bosses can make it a lot easier for our honorable reserves who are called to serve.
Major Aniela Szymanski is one of those honorable reserves. An Afghanistan War veteran, she was deployed to Helmand Province in 2011, and now serves as an appellate attorney at Bergmann & Moore, a law firm for which she proudly represents veterans and their families before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
|Major Szymanski and Judge Robert N. Davis|
After she returned from the war, Szymanski, who began her military service in 2000, was so moved by the support she had received from her then-boss Robert N. Davis, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, she nominated him for the “Above and Beyond Award” from the Department of Defense (DoD). And recently it was announced that he won the award.
The "Above and Beyond Award" is bestowed by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which was established more than 40 years ago to develop and maintain support for employees who also serve in the Guard and Reserve. The award is presented to a limited number of employers who distinguish themselves in their support to employees who serve in the military.
Judge Davis's support and cooperation during his judicial law clerks' deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, including Major Szymanski, epitomizes the spirit of the award.
"Without the outstanding support for reservists such as that provided by Judge Davis, I could not continue to serve my country," says SMajor Szymanski. "Having seen first-hand what reservists bring to the fight in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, and in every other theatre of operation, reservists will continue to be the key to the operational capabilities of our military all over the world. I encourage employers to follow the example set by the Court and Judge Davis to continue to support these needs of our military. The ability to perform my mission in Afghanistan was due largely to their support."
In 2004, Davis was nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction to provide judicial review of final decisions by the Board of Veterans' Appeals, an entity within VA. Davis is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve. Here is his official Court biography.