Robert Britt, Rosewood High School’s athletics director and head football coach, was recognized with the Patriot Award from the North Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office.

The Patriot Award reflects a person’s efforts made to support service members through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed. Patriot Awards are issued through the Department of Defense and are presented to recipients by volunteers.

It is the highest honor a civilian can receive from the Department of Defense.

“It means a lot to me, and I appreciate the military for giving me this award,” said Britt. “I feel like it says something about what’s most important, which is helping each other out. The military has always been good about having their people come out and help in the schools, and any time we get someone in the military willing to come out and support and put in the time, we love it.

“I’m glad they’re able to help us, and I’m glad they feel like we can help them as well.”

Britt was nominated for the award by Mitchell King, a volunteer with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. King is also an assistant football coach.

“It’s a very prestigious award,” said Britt. “I’m just tickled to death, and I appreciate coach Mitchell King for nominating me. When you have a person like coach Mitchell on your staff, who’s also in the military and thinks so much of me he’s willing to nominate (me) for an award, it makes me feel good that he thinks that much of me.”

When King’s service took him away from coaching duties, as well as his personal and professional life, Britt covered his coaching duties and helped support King’s family. King said the support Britt has given him has made a tremendous impact on his life.

“Coach Britt has been a mentor to me,” said King. “He helps take care of stuff on the home front when I have to go back for any orders or anything like that. He helps make sure everything here back home is taken care of and that my family is taken care of, so that way when I come back, it’s just like I never left.

“It’s a pretty special moment, especially because in this small community of Rosewood. Everyone is so tight-knit. With all the negativity going on in the news right now, we needed a feel-good story, and this award couldn’t have gone to a better man.”