DES MOINES, Iowa — Metro Waste Authority was recently honored with the Pro Patria Award, which is given out by the Committee of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. This is the highest honor a business can receive for supporting employees in the National Guard.
“It was a realization that this agency is going in the right direction, doing the right thing,” said Metro Waste Authority Executive Director Michael McCoy.
This started when P.J. Gasparovich, an employee of Metro Waste Authority, was considering applying for a promotion. Gasparovich has served in the National Guard for a number of years and sometimes leaves on deployment.
“I was kind of apprehensive about even applying, not thinking that they would even consider me,” said Gasparovich. “When a good paying job like that comes open in the metro, there’s a lot of people apply for it, so I didn’t think I’d even be at the top of their list, but I was wrong, they promoted me.”
“His promotion was an obvious decision. He’s a hard worker. Part of it is he’s in the guard, he’s very disciplined, he’s got a great attitude, a very positive attitude,” said McCoy.
Then, as expected, Gasparovich went overseas on deployment. But before he left, his coworkers staged a send-off luncheon in his honor. And they didn’t forget about him when he was gone.
“They also put together care packages and sent them to myself and the rest of the group that I was with,” said Gasparovich. “They also sent care packages to my family to my wife, Kristi, and my kids.”
When he returned to his family in central Iowa, he was told to get reacquainted with his family, before he would need to return to work.
“I was in direct contact with the Executive Director Mike McCoy,” said Gasparovich. “He told me to take as much time as I need to come back. With that, I planned a family outing to Wisconsin Dells.”
Gasparovich said he was amazed how his co-workers picked up extra hours here and there during his absence and never complained.
“Being able to work for a company and knowing that I can still stay in the military and I know when I come back from being on military duty that I just go back back where I left off here,” said Gasparovich.