At a ceremony held at the West Warwick Police Department Youth Center, February 28, four members of the West Warwick Police Department were recognized with Patriot Awards from the RI Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Senior Master Sgt Steven Fratus of the 143d Airlift Wing nominated all the members presented with awards, Major Mark Knott, Captain Peter Appollonio, Captain Donald Archibald, and Captain Ernest Lavigne.
The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. SMSgt Fratus explained to those in attendance that the West Warwick Police Department, specifically these four members, have been especially understanding of his military service. Whether it has been time off for Regularly Scheduled Drill (RSD), time for helping fellow airmen, training or deployment, the department has been fully supportive. During SMSgt Fratus’ recent deployment, these members stepped up to help with chores around the house and even went as far as stepping in to watch his children in an emergency. During his remarks Fratus mentioned that technology today allows service members to be in constant contact with their families which is a blessing, but can also create a level of stress on the deployed member due to knowing about problems on the home front in real time. However, knowing that his fellow guardsmen and fellow policemen were ready to lend a helping hand allowed him to focus on his mission.
This presentation marked the first time that RI ESGR has presented four Patriot Awards to the same organization at once.