Melaleuca Manager Receives Patriot Award for Supporting Soldier and His Family on Deployment

Major General Michael Garshak presented the Patriot Award to Melaleuca IT Director James Andersen, Sgt. Stephen Herriott, his wife Emily, and their two children
Major General Michael Garshak presented the Patriot Award to Melaleuca IT Director James Andersen on Sept. 14, 2023. Sgt. Stephen Herriott, his wife Emily, and their two children joined the ceremony.

Supporting those who serve our country has always been important at Melaleuca. And for one Melaleuca manager who recently showed his respect, appreciation and compassion for the wife of a deployed Army sergeant on his team, he was humbled to accept a special award from Idaho’s top military leader.

On Sept. 14, 2023, Major General Michael J. Garshak presented the Patriot Award to Melaleuca Senior Director of Product Management James Andersen during a ceremony held at the Idaho National Guard Armory in Pocatello, Idaho. Brigadier General Timothy J. Donnellan also attended the ceremony.

The United States Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) created the Patriot Award to recognize the supportive actions taken by individual supervisors of a Guardsman or Reservist employee. Nominations for this award can only be given by a Service Member or his or her spouse. Although the Patriot Award technically recognizes an individual, we believe it reflects the spirit of patriotism that permeates throughout Melaleuca’s culture.

As part of this special event, sponsored by the Idaho ESGR, James and other Melaleuca executives received a 45-minute ride aboard a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter flown by members of the Idaho National Guard.

Melaleuca IT Director James Andersen steps aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that is part of the Idaho National Guard.
Melaleuca IT Director James Andersen steps aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that is part of the Idaho National Guard.
honored guests on Black Hawk helicopter

Supporting Our Army Sergeant’s Family

James was nominated for this award by Melaleuca IT Business Analyst Emily Herriott in October 2022.

Emily and her husband, Stephen, a Sergeant in the Idaho National Guard, were grateful for James’ support while Stephen was deployed overseas and honorably serving our country.

“James has been extremely understanding over the last year that my husband has been on deployment,” Emily wrote in her nomination. “He has offered support and advice when I have asked. He has made it possible for me to continue working while being a single mother. Honestly, I don’t think I could have made it without his assistance.”

By submitting this nomination, Emily wanted to recognize James’ ability to help her entire family feel appreciated for their patriotic service, which created an environment where Stephen could fulfill his military duties with confidence.

Melaleuca’s commitment to its military employees has been consistent, providing flexible scheduling, pre-deployment and post-deployment time-off provisions, familial support, and leaves of absence when required. Among other things, the company provides a $100 product training certificate, redeemable for Melaleuca wellness products, to the Service Member’s family each month they are deployed, which lessens their financial burdens a little.

Idaho ESGR Chair Cindy Reese praised Melaleuca for its military-friendly culture.

“Supportive employers like Melaleuca are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of our country’s National Guard and Reserve units. We are grateful for their leadership and example, and the Idaho ESGR appreciates their efforts to support our Citizen Warriors through a wide range of activities.”

Melaleuca: A Military Friendly Company

In 2015, Melaleuca received the Department of Defense’s prestigious Seven Seals Award for its commitment to creating a military-friendly culture.

The Seven Seals Award is regarded as the most inclusive and broadest ESGR recognition, and it recognizes a company’s achievements in assisting soldiers who serve within all seven branches of military service organizations.

“Melaleuca is a great example of a military-friendly company that takes care of its soldiers,” said George Hames, a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer who served as Idaho’s ESGR public affairs director. “Its leadership team has created a culture that encourages military service, values soldiers for their courageous work and supports them all the way through. They appreciate the sacrifices made in defense of our country, and they offer remarkable benefits when those soldiers are called for active-duty service.”

The award was presented at the 23rd Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. This annual event, which is the nation’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display west of the Mississippi River, was founded as a way to deeply honor our past and present soldiers and their families for their many sacrifices.

Other Melaleuca Executives Have Won the Patriot Award

This isn’t the first time that Melaleuca has received the Patriot Award.

In 2016, then Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot received this meaningful award. At that time, Army Specialist Nathan Johnson (a Melaleuca employee) credited the company with supporting him and his wife while he was on active duty for two years.

Other Melaleuca supervisors have also received this patriotic recognition, and they say it is one of the most memorable awards they have ever received throughout their careers.

The mission of the Department of Defense’s ESGR is to create a national environment in which all American employers value and support the sacrifices of their military employees.

 Melaleuca Honors 8 Veterans with a ‘Trip of a Lifetime’

Earlier this year, Melaleuca Executive Chairman Frank VanderSloot took eight Idaho war veterans on a trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C.

After flying them on the company’s private plane, Melaleuca paid for them to stay in a five-star hotel and enjoy an all-inclusive experience with tours of war memorials, monuments, museums, the National Archives, and other places.

“It was unbelievable,” said Roy Reed, who served four years in the Navy during the Korean War. “You talk about being honored. It’s been a joy! It’s a dream of a lifetime and something you would like to see happen for all veterans.