Guard, Reserve Employers Earn Top Defense Department Honor
From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release
ARLINGTON, Va., May 31, 2011 Fifteen employers have been chosen to receive the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in recognition of the support they provide to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Officials at Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency, announced the 15 recipients of the department’s highest recognition for employers today, noting that they stood out from a field of 4,049 nominations submitted by Guard and Reserve service members or their families.
The 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients are:
-- 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.;
-- Ameren Missouri, St. Louis, Mo.;
-- Burt County Sheriff’s Office, Tekamah, Neb.;
-- CSX Transportation, Jacksonville, Fla.;
-- Electrical Contractors Inc., Omaha, Neb.;
-- Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.;
-- Hanson Professional Services Inc., Springfield, Ill.;
-- Integrity Applications Inc., Chantilly, Va.;
-- Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Ana, Calif.;
-- Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa;
-- Qwest Communications, Denver, Colo., acquired by CenturyLink Inc., Monroe, La.;
-- St. John’s Lutheran Church, Yankton, S.D.;
-- State Employees’ Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C.;
-- Town of Gilbert, Ariz.; and
-- Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
Freedom Award recipients distinguish themselves by going to extraordinary lengths to support their military employees, officials said. These employers exceed what is required by law, putting into place formal and informal initiatives that include providing the difference between military and civilian salary during deployments, continuing full benefits, sending care packages and providing personal support to the families of employees called away from home.
"To stand out among the many thousands of employers who firmly support our citizen-warriors is a testament to the remarkable efforts of these 15 recipients," said Dennis M. McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. "On behalf of the Department of Defense, I congratulate the 2011 honorees and thank them for serving as outstanding partners in our nation's defense."
On behalf of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a selection board made up of senior DOD officials, business leaders and prior awardees selected the 15 recipients. The 2011 honorees will be recognized in Washington, D.C., at the 16th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Ceremony on Sept. 22.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers.