Yelm Community Schools Receives National Guard Award

By Daniel Warn / dan@yelmonline.com
Posted 11/2/21

Yelm Community Schools received the Above and Beyond Award from the Washington National Guard’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) office.

Yelm High School Band Teacher Scott …

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Yelm Community Schools Receives National Guard Award

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Yelm Community Schools received the Above and Beyond Award from the Washington National Guard’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) office.

Yelm High School Band Teacher Scott Pierson nominated the district for the award because of the support he received as he functioned simultaneously as a teacher and as the chief warrant officer and commander of the 133rd Army Band in the Washington Army National Guard.

Ken Schwarm, a volunteer with the ESGR in Washington, presented the award to the Yelm School Board at its Oct. 28 meeting. Schwarm is one of about 3,000 volunteers nationwide that provide information, education, recognition and mediation to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their employers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“On behalf of the executive director, national chairman and the state chair, and of Washington ESGR, they take pleasure in presenting the Above and Beyond Award to the Yelm Community Schools,” Schwarm said. “This award is given by the state chair in limited numbers to employers at the local levels who have gone above and beyond supporting their (employees) as they also serve.”

Unbeknown to many throughout the nation, Schwarm said employers play a huge role in national defense.

“Without the support of the employers, the (National) Guard and Reserve force cannot execute their mission,” he said. “Not only supporting the mission on the global War on Terrorism, but also giving immediate response to events like the Oso mudslide (in 2014).

“And during our recent COVID mission, there will be 98 million pounds of food, vaccinating over 255,000 people and closing over 101,000 unemployment cases for citizens of Washington state,” Schwarm said. “Yes this is your friends, neighbors and coworkers.”



As the commander of the 133rd Army Band for 13 years, Pierson said he was given unparalleled support by Yelm High School and district-level administrators when he needed to be away for military service.

“They’re always gracious about last-minute taskings and filling the void for my classes while I’m gone,” Pierson said in his nomination letter. “Their continued support was on full display when I got promoted. The district published the photos on social media and I got (congratulatory) correspondence from various district officials.”

He said Yelm High School hosts a Veteran’s Day assembly where veterans and those still serving in the National Guard and Reserve are recognized.

Pierson said his fellow staff and teachers asked him how they could support him and his spouse during his time in active duty.

“I took 15 months absent to accept orders as the warrant officer strength manager for the Washington National Guard and, upon my return, the district was wildly supportive … and facilitated my transition back,” Pierson said.

The district’s support has enabled Pierson to serve his country in a meaningful way, he said.

“As a commander of a highly visible unit, I am away frequently, and sometimes with very short notice,” Pierson said. “Yelm Community Schools steps up and sets the standard for other employers to follow.”

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