Metro Waste Authority Accepts Prestigious Pro Patria Award

March 9, 2020 –Metro Waste Authority is the honored recipient of a Pro Patria Award, the highest award bestowed by the Iowa Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

The Pro Patria Award is awarded annually to one small, one large, and one public sector employer in the state. According to the ESGR, the Pro Patria Award is presented to recipients who demonstrated support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices.

Metro Waste Authority received this honor, as well as an Above and Beyond Award, in recognition of the commitment demonstrated to Technical Sergeant Paul (PJ) Gasparovich of the Iowa Air Guard’s 132nd Wing Mission Support Group, who is employed as a mechanic/heavy equipment operator with the agency.

“PJ is a hard worker and a great representative of our core values of leadership, teamwork, and integrity,” Metro Waste Authority Executive Director Michael McCoy stated. “In addition to his day job, he is also a volunteer firefighter and first responder in his hometown of Pleasantville, a father, and a member of the National Guard.”

To be eligible for the Iowa ESGR’s highest honor, a supervisor must first receive the Patriot Award, a distinction McCoy received in 2018. 

The Patriot Award is certified by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. According to the nomination, it 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.

“Metro Waste Authority values our employees and supports commitments outside day-to-day job responsibilities,” McCoy said. “We are very proud of PJ, his entire unit, and his family.”

In his nomination, Gasparovich specifically noted a send-off luncheon, and care packages mailed to his unit and his family during the deployment.

“It meant a lot to me and my family and I appreciate all Michael has done for us,” Gasparovich said.

Gasparovich’s unit served in the Horn of Africa from April to October 2018. The Horn of Africa is the continent’s easternmost region where his unit provided fire emergency services. Prior to joining the Air Guard, Gasparovich was Active Duty United States Air Force and served tours of duty in the Middle East.

“I am humbled to accept the Pro Patria, Above and Beyond, and Patriot Award on behalf of our agency’s support of PJ during his deployment,” McCoy said. “As a leader, it would never occur to me not to show appreciation and respect for the ultimate sacrifice he and his family make.”