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Immediate Release

Recipients of SecDef Employer Support Freedom Award Named

June 26, 2018

Fifteen Exceptional Employers Recognized for Top Honor

WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense announced the 15 recipients of the 2018 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

"It is my pleasure to recognize these 15 outstanding civilian employers," said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis.  "Our National Guard and Reserve members are a vital part of our national defense and deserve as much support as our country can provide.  These 15 employers lead the way and we are grateful for their role in helping to keep our nation safe and secure."

The Freedom Award recipients below will be honored August 24 at a Pentagon ceremony:

City/State Employer
Austin, Texas Texas Department of Insurance
Charlotte, North Carolina Duke Energy
Dunlap, Tennessee Dunlap Police Department
Hiawatha, Iowa Crystal Group, Inc.
Ligonier, Indiana AME Swiss Machining LLC
Malvern, Pennsylvania Greencastle Associates Consulting, LLC
Newmarket, New Hampshire ArgenTech Solutions, Inc.
Omaha, Nebraska Werner Enterprises, Inc.
Raleigh, North Carolina FMI Corporation
Salisbury, Maryland Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office
Seattle, Washington Amazon
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
South Charleston, West Virginia South Charleston Police Department
St. Louis, Missouri Big Sky Advisors
St. Paul, Minnesota Minnesota Department of Transportation

The 2018 recipients were selected from more than 2,350 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them. The Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 250 honorees to date. 

For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit To learn more about ESGR, part of the Defense Personnel and Family Support Center, visit