The Defense Department honors 15 businesses and government organizations with the 2015 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the highest honor the department gives to employers who support employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department office, has selected 30 employers as finalists for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest DoD recognition of employers for their support of National Guard and reserve service members. Story
President Barack Obama called upon all Americans to join him “in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers” as he proclaimed Aug. 16 through Aug. 22, 2015, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. Story
Pentagon officials announced the 15 recipients of the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor the department gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Story
DoD Honors 2015 Freedom Award Recipients
The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
The award was created to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense.
The Guard and Reserve make up almost one-half of the U.S. military. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. This award recognizes employers who provide the most outstanding support for their Guard and Reserve employees and is presented annually by the Secretary of Defense.
For more information, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil.
"Basically my family knows BHC is on standby if anything goes wrong. They are our second family."
Black Hills Corp. is a diversified energy company that serves approximately 784,000 natural gas and electric utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. It is recognized for providing outstanding support to their military employees and their families during deployments and while on leave, including child care, snow removal and care packages.
"We promise that we are going to continue to lead by example and show our appreciation with our actions."
The Boise Fire Department serves a population of nearly 250,000 residents in Idaho's capital city. More than 30 percent of Boise Fire's workforce is made up of National Guard members, reservists or veterans. It has an appointed military liaison who is responsible for assisting military members and their families. This includes providing information technology support to family members to ensure they are able to communicate with loved ones who are deployed
"BP provided a $1,000 donation to our family support group for our unit's welcome home ceremony and dinner."
BP is a leading global producer of oil and gas, and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. It is recognized for its tremendous support of soldiers and families. Support includes a veterans business resource group, scholarships, care packages, financial support to family support groups, and advertising efforts that promote the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve office and the Hero2Hired program.
"Since 2009, Cardinal Health has raised $1,600,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project."
Cardinal Health is a Fortune 500 company that helps pharmacies, hospitals and doctors focus on patient care while reducing costs, improving efficiency and quality, and increasing profitability. It proactively supports the military and veteran community through its Veterans Leadership and Career Development Program and its Veterans and Military Advocates Employee Resource Group. Cardinal Health's Support the Troops Care Package Event has also delivered nearly 5,000 care packages and received more than $54,000 in donations since 2008.
"Hiring of disclosed military personnel in 2014 exceeded 100 individuals and this number is expected to grow in 2015."
Cigna is a global health services organization. Its insurance subsidiaries are major providers of medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance. It has several initiatives designed to honor its employees who serve, including welcome home celebrations and an annual veterans event that recognizes the value of military employees, promotes the hiring of veterans and service members and encourages support of our men and women in uniform.
"The city of Glendale employs over 70 guardsmen, reservists and veterans just in the police department alone."
The City of Glendale, Arizona, was founded on Feb. 27, 1892 and has a population of approximately 234,632 - the 87th largest city in the United States. The city employs more than 70 National Guard members, reservists and veterans in the police department alone. It also offers veterans hiring preference, has a robust reintegration program for returning service members and recently increased its paid military leave policy.
"The City Of Shawnee has a deliberate and systemic policy to take care of and honor its reserve component service members and families."
The City of Shawnee is a full-service municipality located in the southern Kansas City metropolitan area. It has a deliberate and systematic policy to take care of and honor its reserve component service members and families. This includes continuing benefits during deployment and paying the entire premium, providing differential pay, sending care packages and celebrating returning service members.
"Few organizations have a mission and vision like College of the Ozarks. Their ethos of 'God, Country and Respect for Those that serve' is something I've not seen anyplace else."
College of the Ozarks is a Christian liberal arts school with an enrollment of around 1,500 students and more than 30 academic majors. The college charges no tuition for full-time students due to its student work program and donations. It provides outstanding support to service members and their families during deployments, including extending full benefits and pay, sending care packages and caring for family members.
"One of the first companies nationally to pilot a military occupational code ... translator to assist with matching up military skills with their civilian job postings."
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company with 7,800 retail pharmacies and more than 900 walk-in medical clinics. It sponsors veteran and service member hiring initiatives and was one of the first companies to pilot a military occupational code translator to help match military skills with their civilian job postings. It also created the VALOR Support Group to foster a veteran-welcoming work environment.
"Devon Energy Corporation has their own Military Affairs Recruiter who specializes in the recruitment of military personnel, their spouses and veterans."
Devon Energy Corp. is a leading independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. In addition to promoting veteran and service member hiring, it recently established a junior military officer project to hire military personnel with junior officer skills and experience. The program focuses on developing engineering officers for operations engineering, reservoir engineering and drilling engineering.
"Maintains a ... network of fellow employers seeking to hire guardsmen, reservists and veterans and shares any opportunities ... to assist service members with obtaining employment."
The office of Dr. Joe A. Jackson specializes in neurology and pain management. He has been in practice for more than 25 years. Dr. Jackson pays the service member's salary and provides care and medical support for the family, at no cost, as long as the service member is deployed. He also promotes veteran hiring initiatives and all service-affiliated patients receive head-of-the-line privileges in his office.
"Frequent communication through emails and phone calls is standard policy ... in reaching out to deployed service members and families of these warriors."
Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall, Trexler, McCabe & Hudson APLC is a San Diego-based law firm established in 1964. Frequent communication through emails and phone calls is standard policy reaching out to deployed service members and to their families. Neil Dymott also provides differential pay and continues all benefits for military service greater than 12 months.
"Snell and Wilmer has over 35 members of the staff who serve in the guard and reserves or are veterans."
Snell & Wilmer LLP is a law firm based in Phoenix. It views military service as a major factor in favor of hiring new attorneys. Today, more than 35 members of its staff are National Guard members, reservists or veterans. The firm also provides pro bono legal services to guard members, reservists and veterans during Arizona's annual Veterans Stand Down events and on a day-to-day basis if income-qualified.
"Town employees have taken steps to ensure those family members are safe at home and supported through ... any household emergencies."
The Town of Hingham is 15 miles south of Boston and has a population of about 22,000. It provides differential pay and continues employee benefits for the duration of a deployment, regardless of length. The Town Veterans Council reimburses all shipping costs for spouses' care packages sent to deployed employees. Town employees also ensure family members are safe at home and supported through any household emergencies.
"Recognizes ... service members by naming them the grand marshal of one of the daily Magic Kingdom Main Street Parades, in which the service member and family ride in front of all the guests."
The Walt Disney Co. is headquartered in Burbank, California. Disney was one of the first theme parks to offer free and discounted tickets for military members and created "Shades of Green," a resort that caters to the needs of our nation's military. It provides military hiring preference and extends benefits and differential pay to employees during deployments. Returning service members are also honored by being named grand marshal of a Magic Kingdom Main Street Parade.