TN Department of Military continues work during pandemic

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(TENNESSEE) — Many frontline workers are continuing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes members from the Tennessee National Guard.

Early in November, the Tennessee Department of Military announced the state’s National Guard reached a milestone for COVID-19 testing. According to a release from the department, soldiers and airmen have administered more than 600,000 tests to people throughout Tennessee.

But as the pandemic continues, Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s adjutant general, said Sunday that members have remained flexible.

Major General Jeff Holmes – Tennessee Department of Military Commissioner / The Adjutant General

During a recent interview with WATE 6 On Your Side, Maj. Gen. Holmes said the department has worked to ensure testing is available and convenient for people across the state, especially for people in rural areas.

Maj. Gen. Holmes said the entire department is appreciative for the community’s response. That also includes how people in Tennessee have been supportive of everyone working during pandemic, from military members, businesses, and health care workers on the frontlines.

The state of Tennessee is also showing its support with a piece of legislation that’ll be introduced for the 2020-2021 General Assembly.

According to a release from Gov. Bill Lee’s office, The Reemployment Act from the Department of the Military will provide reemployment protections to Tennessee National Guard service members who are called to state active duty.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be offering a preview of policy proposals that will streamline Tennessee government and ensure that we are good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Gov. Lee in a statement to WATE 6 On Your Side. “Our National Guard servicemen and women have been front and center in our COVID-19 response and this bill will support their efforts and help ensure the very best continue to serve in the Tennessee National Guard.”

The Reemployment Act will:

  • Amend Tennessee law to provide reemployment protections for service members called to state active duty;
  • Close the gap in benefits by providing state active duty benefits more closely aligned to those provided while in federal status.
  • Keep the Tennessee National Guard competitive in recruiting top talent that might otherwise serve in a neighboring state National Guard that does provide protection.

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