ARLINGTON, Va.– Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense operational committee, received 2,899 nominations for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition for employers supporting employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Up to 15 award recipients will be announced this summer and honored in Washington, D.C. later this year at the 18th annual Freedom Award ceremony. Past award recipients have met with senior leaders of the White House and Department of Defense as part of the award recognition.
Guard and Reserve Service members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated their civilian employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season that closed in January. Even with recent draw downs in Afghanistan, ongoing national security demands and historic humanitarian relief missions have continued to call service members away from their civilian lives. Supportive employers are critical to helping restore stability and peace of mind for these Citizen Warriors and their loved ones.
"Every year, these nominations demonstrate the strength of our employers' commitment to supporting our Guardsmen and Reservists," said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. "We applaud all the National Guard and Reserve Service members who took the time to tell the DoD why their employers are exceptional, and we are grateful to the 2013 nominees for providing our Citizen Warriors with the assistance and encouragement they rely on while answering the call to duty."
Nearly one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of Guard and Reserve members. While most Guard and Reserve employers proudly support their military employees, Freedom Award recipients are recognized for going to extraordinary lengths for their Guardsmen and Reservists. This year’s nominees represent diverse industries including airlines, grocery store chains, national retail brands and IT companies, as well as small businesses, and state and local governments.
A list of nominations from all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia are available at www.FreedomAward.mil. Semifinalists for the 2013 Freedom Award will be announced later this spring.
About ESGR and the Freedom Award:
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award. ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, pleasecontact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.