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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipients Named

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced today the 15 recipients of the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor the DOD gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

"These 15 employers have distinguished themselves through their outstanding support of our Guard and Reserve members and their families," said Secretary Carter. "Without the unfaltering support of employers like them, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve would not be able to fulfill their vital roles in our national security strategy. It is a great honor for me to recognize these employers, and I congratulate them on their receipt of the Employer Support Freedom Award."

The 2016 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon on Aug. 26:

Alaska Airlines; Anchorage, Alaska; nominated by Air Force Reserve

Albuquerque Police Department; Albuquerque, New Mexico; nominated by Air National Guard

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing; Springfield, Missouri; nominated by Navy Reserve

Burford Corporation; Maysville, Oklahoma; nominated by Army National Guard

Carolinas Healthcare System; Charlotte, North Carolina; nominated by Air National Guard

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office; Oregon City, Oregon; nominated by Army National Guard

Delmarva Veteran Builders; Salisbury, Maryland; nominated by Air Force Reserve

FASTSIGNS International, Inc.; Carrollton, Texas; nominated by Air Force Reserve

Hope Valley Industries; North Kingstown, Rhode Island; nominated by Air National Guard

Idaho State Police; Meridian, Idaho; nominated by Army Reserve / Army National Guard

Lowe's; Mooresville, North Carolina; nominated by Navy Reserve

Maryland State Police; Pikesville, Maryland; nominated by Army Reserve

Prairie Grove Consolidated School District 46; Crystal Lake, Illinois; nominated by Marine Corps Reserve

Seattle Fire Department; Seattle, Washington; nominated by Navy Reserve

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Akron, Ohio; nominated by Navy Reserve

The 2016 recipients were selected from 2,424 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 220 employers have been honored with the award.

For more information on the 2016 Freedom Award program, contact Maj. S.J. Brown at (571) 372-0692 or visit For more information on ESGR, visit