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Phillips 66 leader gets Patriot Award for going above and beyond

Phillips 66 Director of Crisis Management Steve Pepper thought he was going to a routine meeting, but the former Marine got a well-deserved "ooh-rah" instead.

Pepper, in a surprise presentation at Houston headquarters, was awarded an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve's Patriot Award. The ESGR is a Department of Defense program that promotes cooperation between reservists and guardsmen and their employers, and its Patriot Award is given to supervisors who have offered critical support to these so-called citizen soldiers.

Pepper was nominated for the award by Phillips 66 Team Leader for Emergency Response Jared Angelle, a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.

“Steve goes above and beyond because not only when I’m deployed does he support me, but he will call and check on me and my family,” Angelle said. “That’s a piece of it that a lot of people don’t always see.”

Pepper, in typical fashion for someone who was an infantryman in the U.S. Marines, turned the spotlight back on his colleague. He said he’s simply proud to be in the position to support Angelle and the work he does with the U.S. Coast Guard.

“During Hurricane Harvey, Jared was … making sure that people were getting rescued, making sure that a young child was able to get transferred from their flooded home to a Houston hospital to receive lifesaving treatments,” he said. “The things that Jared does in the Coast Guard are really special and critical.”

As part of the award presentation on June 19, Angelle invited some of Pepper’s colleagues to celebrate, including Ben Hur, Phillips 66 General Manager of Global Heavies and Renewables Trading. Hur, the global sponsor for the company’s Veterans Network, is a former Marine.

“You really exemplify what it means to be a Marine and provide service back to your country and to your company,” Hur said of Pepper.

Pepper credited Phillips 66 policies — including paid time off for reservists and guardsmen when they are deployed — as the reason why he’s able to support Angelle. “It’s really a company award,” he insisted.