A metro business and its owners are being noticed for serving those who serve and sacrifice for us. USA Pawn in Pearl is accustomed to offering great deals to shoppers and sellers, but according to the U.S. Department of Defense they also offer a great deal to those fighting for our country.
That's a sentiment shared by USA Pawn's Regional Leader, Sean Neely, who is also a Tech Sergeant for the Air National Guard.
"It's always been easy to get off for any type of military duty, and it's hard to find employers nowadays that will do that," Neely said.
Neely is a flight medic on a C17 aircraft and while he loves both his jobs, he admits it presents plenty of challenges.
"Constant struggle to balance the two," Neely said. "When you get an employer that is more than willing to help it makes it a lot easier."
For Neely it is piece of mind to know there is a job waiting for him at home during deployment or other military exercises. Neely's testimony is a reason the DOD is recognizing USA Pawn in Pearl as a semi-finalist for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
USA Pawn co-owner Brian Smith accepts the designation with pride.
"We're happy to do it.," Smith said. "We're really not making any sacrifices. They're the ones that make all the sacrifices for this."
Neely nominated his employers to the ESGR, Employment Support of the Guard and Reserve. USA Pawn is now one-of-138 semi-finalists vying for up-to 15 finalist awards. '
At their six Mississippi locations USA Pawn employs 50 people, and with two guard members on staff Smith says the real award is their work ethic and discipline.
"They're making these kinds of sacrifices for us it's the least we can do," Smith said. "It's a benefit for us to. It's not that we are helping them out. They're helping us out."
USA Pawn in Pearl is joined by two other Mississippi employers as some of the 138 semi-finalists for the national award. Nissan in Canton and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department are also semi-finalists.
Officials with the ESGR said the finalists will be announced early summer.