Honoring the Top Employers of National Guard and Reserve Members

In a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C. on September 26, fifteen companies and organizations were honored with a Secretary of Defense-level award for their outstanding support of employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve.

Such support is critical to the nation’s security, said Jessica L. Wright, the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, who recognized the awardees at the ceremony.

In a memo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Guardsmen and Reservists could not uphold their military duties “without supportive, helpful and encouraging employers and communities back home.”

Hagel continued, “By doing more than is expected, these organizations serve as models for employers and communities nationwide. Their accomplishments are an important reminder that supporting citizen warriors and their families is a responsibility all Americans share.”

The 15 awardees were nominated by their Guard and Reserve employees, and were chosen from nearly 2,900 entries, according to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office that seeks to foster good relations between Guard and Reserve members and their civilian employers. Selection for the award was based on an employer’s ability to meet or exceed support for their deployed service members, according to ESGR.

Saying “thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough, Wright said.

“I wish there was some monumentally big word for ‘thank you,’” she said. “But I will say thank you over and over again to the employers here; employers that are out there working very hard.

National Military Family Association Executive Director Joyce Raezer and Government Relations Director Kathleen Moakler attended the dinner. They were impressed by the level of support that these companies provide to the service members and their families. The Association applauds the awardees, the service members who took the time to nominate them, and ESGR for continuing to recognize their contributions.

The 2013 Secretary of Defense ESGR Freedom Award winners are: 

  • Albuquerque Fire Department, Albuquerque, New Mexico 
  • Bank of America, Charlotte, North Carolina 
  • C.W. Driver, Pasadena, California 
  • City of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio 
  • Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  • DaVita Inc., Denver, Colorado 
  • Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tennessee 
  • Family Allergy and Asthma, Louisville, Kentucky 
  • Humana Inc., Louisville, Kentucky 
  • Pape-Dawson Engineers, San Antonio, Texas 
  • Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia, South Carolina 
  • Safeway Inc., Pleasanton, California 
  • Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville, Tennessee 
  • U.S. Bank, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  • U.S. Marshals Service, Washington, D.C.

(Source: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=120872)

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