COLLINSVILLE – Just days ahead of Veterans Day, when we honor all those who served in the military, Ameren Illinois employees were recognized by the Department of Defense for providing outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees who have answered their nation’s call to serve.

On November 6, four Ameren Illinois employees were honorably awarded the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for the extraordinary support they provide to fellow employee Darrel Eickoff, who also serves as a CW-5 (warrant officer) in the United States Army Reserve.

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The four supervisors – Kelly Slaughter, Paul Hardiek, Lacey Thomas and Joe West – are based in the company's Collinsville office.

“The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees who have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Illinois ESGR State Chair Laurie Silvey. “Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units, whose members bring tremendous skill and capability to our workforce. By valuing military service, employers directly support the readiness and retention of our All-Volunteer Force, and our national defense.”

Eickoff, in his nomination, told ESGR: “Mr. Slaughter, Mr. Hardiek, Ms. Thomas and Mr. West and the executive management team at Ameren are the standard against which all other companies should be measured. Ameren Illinois went out of its way to hire a new employee, even though I was already scheduled for deployment to the Middle East. Their support was more than I ever expected!”

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"This is a great honor for our four employees. Ameren has a legacy of hiring military veterans that dates back to World War I. We recognize that servicemen and women who are transitioning into civilian employment have the skills, work ethic and leadership qualities that are essential to Ameren achieving its mission," said George Justice, vice president of Electric Operations for Ameren Illinois. "In fact, Ameren earned the 2023 Military Friendly® Employers designation for the 14th consecutive year, cementing us as one of the leading companies in the nation for recruiting and retaining veterans."

In addition, Justice signed an official Statement of Support on behalf of Ameren Illinois.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the National Guard and Reserve through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. ESGR also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.

For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit

About Ameren Illinois

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in Illinois. Our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit, find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois or Facebook.

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