President William J. Clinton has signed a proclamation declaring the week of Nov. 2-8 as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.
Recognizing the increased reliance on the nation's Reserve forces, Clinton emphasized the importance of employer support by insuring the availability of employees serving as citizen soldiers in the Reserve components. More than 50 percent of the nation's military strength is represented in the Reserve forces.
"It is only because of the willingness by employers to place our Nation's well-being above their own that our National Guard and Reserve are able to provide mission-ready and accessible forces to help preserve our freedom and protect our national interests," said Clinton.
"I encourage all American's to join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the civilian employers of the members of the National Guard and Reserve for their extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our Nation."
The Department of Defense will recognize the nation's most supportive employers of members of the Reserve forces in a Pentagon ceremony Nov. 5.
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon will present
the Employer Support Freedom Award, sponsored by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Receiving the 1997 award as the nation's most supportive employer of members of the National Guard and Reserve is Charles Machine Works, an underground construction equipment company from Perry, Okla.
The regional award winners are: Fred Meyer Inc., out of Portland, Ore.; ENTEC Services Inc., based in Peoria, Ill.; East Penn Manufacturing Co., from Lyon Station, Pa.; and The Home Depot's Southeastern Division, based in Tampa, Fla.
These companies were selected based on their policies of allowing time off for military training, their continuance of pay and other company benefits for employees while serving on active duty and their family support practices.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committees across the nation nominated employers for the award. There were 24 employers nominated this year. A national selection board reviewed the nominations and selected the five finalists. A panel of weekend drilling National Guard and Reserve members reviewed the finalists and selected the National winner and the four regional winners.
For more information, contact the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Lt. Col. Jeff Davis at (703) 696-1381 or Capt. Hunt Kerrigan at (703) 696-1388.
The text of the presidential proclamation follows.