Guardsmen, Reservists Nominate Employers for Freedom Awards
From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release
ARLINGTON, Va., Mar. 25, 2013 Members of the National Guard and reserves submitted 2,899 nominations for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, officials with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an operational Defense Department committee, announced today.
The Freedom Award is the Defense Department’s highest recognition for employers supporting employees who serve in the reserve components.
Up to 15 award recipients will be announced this summer, and they’ll be honored in Washington, D.C., later this year at the 18th annual Freedom Award ceremony. Past award recipients have met with senior White House and Defense Department leaders as part of the award recognition, officials said.
Guard and reserve service members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated their civilian employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season that closed in January.
ESGR officials noted that even with recent drawdowns in Afghanistan, ongoing national security demands and humanitarian relief missions have continued to call reserve component service members away from their civilian lives. Supportive employers are critical to helping provide stability and peace of mind for these service members and their families, officials added.
"Every year, these nominations demonstrate the strength of our employers' commitment to supporting our Guardsmen and reservists," said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. "We applaud all the National Guard and reserve service members who took the time to tell the DOD why their employers are exceptional, and we are grateful to the 2013 nominees for providing our citizen warriors with the assistance and encouragement they rely on while answering the call to duty."
Guard and reserve members make up almost half of the U.S. military. While most Guard and reserve employers proudly support their military employees, ESGR officials said, Freedom Award recipients are recognized for going to extraordinary lengths for the Guardsmen and reservists who work for them in their civilian lives.
This year’s nominees represent diverse industries, including airlines, grocery store chains, national retail brands and information technology companies, as well as small businesses and state and local governments.
A list of nominations from all 50 states, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia are available at http://www.FreedomAward.mil. Semifinalists for the 2013 Freedom Award will be announced later this spring.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award.
ESGR develops and maintains employer support for reserve component members, advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR’s mission, officials said, is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.