"These are my multiple branches," Tim Nolan explained. "I have five honorable discharges I keep."
Nolan calls his military service the best part of his life.
"These are all my certificates of achievement and appreciation," he said.
Nolan is being deployed to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard. He wonders if he'll have a job to come back to.
"The hardest about deploying is not leaving. That is not the hardest part," he said. "The hardest part is coming back and trying to pick up your life and the pieces where they were."
He was hired in October as a temporary correctional officer at the state prison in Springfield. He was told he'd be promoted to any permanent job that opened up, based on seniority. But he says he and two other Guardsmen were passed over for promotions as soon as their bosses learned they'd be deployed.
"When we all met we realized something is not right. Why are we all being passed over for promotion? Just conveniently we're at the bottom of the list," he said.
Guard spokesman Lloyd Goodrow says 1,500 Vermonters are about to be deployed overseas. Half of them work in civilian jobs. He says the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, allows service members to perform their military functions without having to worry about losing their civilian jobs.
"Generally speaking temporary workers are not covered under USERRA unless there's an expectation those temporary employments will lead to full time, in which case they would have USERRA protection," Goodrow explained.
Goodrow would not comment specifically on the Springfield prison case.
Vt. Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito says the prison system has a long history of accommodating employees who are guard members. But he has ordered an investigation of the complaints.
"My initial information is that there isn't any merit to this allegation," Pallito said. "But until we have the full report, I won't know that. If there is merit to this allegation, it will likely result in employee discipline."
"I just want a job, if you want the truth," Nolan said. "I want what's right and what's fair."
Nolan says he's not planning to sue; he just wants to speak up so future guardsmen don't face the same challenges. But he says at least one of his fellow prison guards is planning to take the issue to court.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>