Freedom Award: Supporting Our Guard, Reserve Members

By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan will be presenting the 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to 15 worthy recipients tomorrow.

Don’t know what the Freedom Award is? Lucky for you, we figured that might be the case and decided to explain it to you here.

What Is It?

The Freedom Award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Since nearly half of the U.S. military force is made up of reserve and guard warriors who have “day jobs” in the civilian sector, it makes sense to honor these employers for their support.

How Do Companies Get Picked for the Award?

Nominations for the Freedom Award can come from two places: a guard or reserve member who’s employed by the company they’re nominating, or a family member acting on that service member’s behalf. There are three categories companies can be nominated for: large business, small business and public sector.

A national selection board made up of senior defense officials and business leaders pick the final recipients. This year’s were chosen from 3,064 nominees from reserve component troops across the country.

Idaho State Police director Col. Ralph Powell (middle) accepts the Freedom Award from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Aug. 26, 2016. The Freedom Award is the highest award given by the Department of Defense to employers in recognition for their support of the National Guard and reserve forces. Army photo by Sgt. Ricky Bowden

This Year’s Recipients

Here’s the list of employers who will be honored in an Aug. 25 ceremony at the Pentagon. All of them went above and beyond federal requirements to support their military employees.

  • Accordia Urgent Healthcare & Family Practice of Vidalia, Georgia. Nominator’s branch: Air Force Reserve
  • Boston Scientific Corp. of Marlborough, Massachusetts. Nominator’s branch: Air National Guard
  • Cargill of Wayzata, Minnesota. Nominator’s branch: Army National Guard
  • Comcast of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nominator’s branch: Air National Guard
  • CSI Aviation of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nominator’s branch: Army National Guard
  • Hensel Phelps of Greely, Colorado. Nominator’s branch: Army Reserve
  • Howard County Fire and Rescue of Columbia, Maryland. Nominator’s branch: Coast Guard Reserve
  • Indianapolis Fire Department. Nominator’s branch: Air Force Reserve
  • Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Nominator’s branch: Air National Guard
  • Mesa Natural Gas Solutions of Casper, Wyoming. Nominator’s branch: Army National Guard
  • 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of Centennial, Colorado. Nominator’s branch: Marine Corps Reserve
  • Renown Health of Reno, Nevada. Nominator’s branch: Air National Guard
  • Salt River Project of Tempe, Arizona. Nominator’s branch: Army National Guard
  • Andeavor (formerly Tesoro) of San Antonio, Texas. Nominator’s branch: Army Reserve
  • Zapata of Charlotte, North Carolina. Nominator’s branch: Air National Guard

Since the award was established in 1996, more than 200 employers have been honored.

Congrats to all of them for their efforts!

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