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By 1st Lt. Nathan Rivard
Vermont National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight was selected as recipient for the Fiscal Year 2022 Individual Army National Guard – National Guard Excellence in Diversity Award.
This award is presented to the Army National Guard member who stands out from among their peers by consistently and significantly contributing to diversity and inclusion initiatives and ideas, institutionalizing best practices, building measurable milestones, and attaining individual or group diversity and inclusion goals.
“This award is as much for the Vermont National Guard, as it is for me,” said Knight. “This is not an individual effort from one person, but an effort from numerous teams working together to help grow our Guard to reflect our communities. The Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians throughout our organization work diligently to create opportunities for everyone to serve in the Vermont National Guard. It is those people this award is recognizing and honoring.”
Knight was nominated for the award for his commitment goals of creating an inclusive environment that is a representation of the community the Vermont National Guard serves in, ensuring leaders champion diversity program priorities at all levels, and developing diversity partnerships.
In the award letter, U.S. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau wrote, “Your dedication to the men and women of the Vermont National Guard plays a vital role in advancing my intent to maintain a ready, resilient force by recruiting, retaining, and promoting talented, capable, high-performing citizens Soldiers and Airmen from every racial, ethnic, and gender group, ensuring that our force reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.”
Notable actions of the year for Knight include being the deputy chair for the National Joint Diversity Executive Council, working with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, and increasing the percentage of women recruited into the Vermont National Guard. Additionally, numerous policies were created, expanded, or updated during that same time period.
“Our Vermont National Guard team has been put in tremendous effort towards diversity and inclusion initiatives. Maj. Gen. Knight has been a champion for our efforts,” said Todd Connolly, State Equal Employment Manager of the Vermont National Guard. “He and the Vermont National Guard as a whole, have been supportive every step of the way, whether we are trying to increase recruiting and retention of underrepresented groups, highlighting the diversity of our force, or reworking policies and programs to make them equitable or more inclusive.”