ARLINGTON, Va., March 28, 2014 – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department office, received 2,864 nominations from Guardsmen and reservists for the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
The Freedom Award is the department’s highest recognition honoring employers who support employees serving in the military’s reserve components. Up to 15 award recipients will be announced this summer and honored at the Pentagon in September, officials said.
ESGR officials said the Freedom Award honors employers who not only safeguard the positions of their military employees while they perform military duty or are deployed, but also establish exceptional and generous initiatives that accommodate and care for those employees and their families.
“These employers exemplify the true spirit of patriotism,” said ESGR National Chair Paul E. Mock. “By supporting their National Guard and Reserve employees, the 2014 Freedom Award nominees demonstrate what it means to serve our nation’s citizen-warriors.”
Last year, recipients met with President Barack Obama, who praised them for the exceptional support provided to their Guard and Reserve employees. Recipients also met with senior Defense Department leaders as part of the award recognition.
This year’s nominees represent employers large and small from nearly every industry, including airlines, grocery store chains, national retail brands and information technology companies, as well as small businesses and state and local governments. ESGR received nominations from Guard and Reserve members in all 50 states, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. Semifinalists will be announced later this spring. A complete list of nominees is available on the Freedom Award website.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award.
ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service, advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between service members and employers.