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Department of Defense to Honor 15 Employers from Across the Nation for Support of Guard and Reserve

September 22, 2011 (Arlington, VA) - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, will honor 15 employers from across the Nation with the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to large, small, and public sector employers for their exceptional support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. The annual awards will be presented on September, 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Only 145 companies have been presented the Freedom Award since it was first instituted in 1996. Freedom Award recipients distinguish themselves by going to extraordinary lengths to support their military employees. This year's honorees range from a small church in South Dakota, to two sheriff's departments, to major automotive, technology, and banking corporations. The recipients will be honored by senior Department of Defense officials during the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony.

Since September 11, 2001, over 1.1 million Guard and Reserve service members have been deployed, with almost one-half of the total U.S. military strength residing in the Guard and Reserve. Employers across America continue to provide significant support to their employees in the Guard and Reserve, despite ongoing combat operations and reduced workforces during an uncertain economy. This year more than 4,000 Guard and Reserve members nominated employers for exceptional support.

The ceremony will be attended by members of Congress, senior military officials, company executives and CEOs and the Guard and Reserve members who nominated the recipients for the award. In conjunction with the ceremony, the Freedom Award honorees will meet privately with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

  • What: 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award
  • When: Thursday, September 22, 2011. Reception: 6:30 p.m.; Ceremony & Dinner: 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

This year's recipients are:

Employer Location
3M St. Paul, Minn.
Ameren Corporation St. Louis, Mo.
Burt County Sheriff's Office Tekamah, Neb.
CSX Transportation Jacksonville, Fla.
Electrical Contractors, Inc. Omaha, Neb.
Ford Motor Company Dearborn, Mich.
Hanson Professional Services Inc. Springfield, Ill.
Integrity Applications Incorporated Chantilly, Va.
Orange County Sheriff's Department Santa Ana, Calif.
Qwest Communications, Denver, Colo., now CenturyLink, Inc. Monroe, La.
St. John's Lutheran Church Yankton, S.D.
State Employees' Credit Union Raleigh, N.C.
The Principal Financial Group Des Moines, Iowa
Town of Gilbert Gilbert, Ariz.
Wells Fargo & Company San Francisco, Calif.

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. ESGR was established in 1972 to develop and maintain 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.

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