Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon joined Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Deborah R. Lee today in Pentagon ceremonies in presenting an Oklahomabased construction equipment production company the National Employer Support Freedom Award for outstanding support as an employer of members of the National Guard and Reserve.
President and Chief Executive Officer Edwin Malzahn, Charles Machine Works Inc., based in Perry, accepted the award. The honor is sponsored by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NCESGR), a Department of Defense organization that is headquarters to 54 volunteer-run state committees nationwide.
"The award recognizes the great contributions employers nationwide make toward national defense by supporting their National Guard and Reserve employees," said NCESGR National Chair, William Bowen. "These employers are true patriots and deserve our Nation's respect and gratitude."
"We try to be flexible in allowing our people time off to train," said Malzahn. "They commit themselves, their time, and a lot of effort in the service of our country and we can do no less."
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committees across the nation submitted 24 nominations for the award this year. A selection board reviewed the nominations and chose five finalists, representing each of the United States' five regional areas. A "grassroots" committee of weekend drilling National Guard and Reserve members then reviewed the finalists and identified the National and four regional winners.
Examples of the kind of work earning Charles Machine national honors included recognizing the need for and refurbishing of the Perry National Guard Armory -- an effort that cost the company more than $80,000 for materials and labor according to Harvey G. Gulley, state chairman, Oklahoma committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Additionally, "the company stays in touch with the soldier and the soldiers' family when soldiers employed by the company are activated or mobilized," said Gulley, adding that the firm "conducts information meetings for families and employees." The firm also pays the difference between military and civilian salaries, and provides continuance of company longevity plans and life insurance policy while employees are in mobilization and training status.
Among those recognized as regional winners were Home Depot, Southeastern Division, a home improvement company with the division headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
"On behalf of the 112,000 men and women of The Home Depot, we are pleased and proud to be recognized for our support of the National Guard and Reserves," said Dan Kneip, Southeastern Division district manager. "Our continued success depends on the expertise and commitment of each employee, just as the defense of our great country depends more and more on the courage and dedication of our citizen soldiers."
Also honored was ENTEC Services, Inc., based in Peoria, Ill., a ventilating and air conditioning company.
"As a technical service company, ENTEC employs engineers, technicians, and project managers," said Chief Executive Officer Thomas Weed. "The discipline, teamwork, and attention to detail learned in the military services makes our Illinois Air National Guard employees solid performers in a highly competitive marketplace."
Receiving recognition in the northwest region was an Oregonbased food and general merchandise retail company, Fred Myer, Inc., based in Portland.
"I am honored to represent the thousands of Fred Myer employees at this prestigious event," said Joe Intile, senior vice president, director of distribution and logistics. "We believe by supporting our military employees, we are playing a vital part in the defense of our nation and freedom around the world."
Rounding out the list of regional winners was East Penn Manufacturing Co., based in Lyon Station, Pa. -- a battery production company.
"I am very pleased that East Penn Manufacturing company as been selected as the recipient of the Employer Support Freedom Award," said Chief Executive Officer Delight E. Breidegam. "The people who serve in the National Guard and Reserves are vital to our national defense and East Penn has always been honored to assist them in this important role."
For more information on National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, visit their site on the Internet at: http://www.ncesgr.osd.mil/