From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release
ARLINGTON, Va. – More than 3,000 reserve-component service members have nominated their civilian-life employers for an award that recognizes outstanding support for the citizen-soldiers and citizen airmen who work for them.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency, received 3,236 nominations for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the department’s highest recognition for employers supporting members of the Guard and Reserve.
Officials will announce up to 15 recipients this summer to be honored Sept. 20 at a ceremony in the nation’s capital.
Guard and Reserve members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated their civilian employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season. Guard and Reserve members often put their civilian lives on hold when they answer the call to duty, ESGR officials noted. Supportive employers provide a tremendous amount of stability and peace of mind to citizen-warriors and their families, they added, enabling them to continue their service.
"Guardsmen and reservists continue to receive outstanding support from their employers," said James G. Rebholz, national chairman for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. "America's employers have not wavered in their commitment to these citizen-warriors."
The Guard and reserves make up almost half of the U.S. military. While most employers proudly support their military employees, officials said, Freedom Award recipients go above and beyond what is required by law.
Last year’s recipients were nominated for acts of support such as driving a deployed employee’s children to school, replacing a deployed employee’s broken refrigerator, and working overtime to cover shifts so a service member employee could take part in military training.
Semifinalists for the 2012 Freedom Award will be announced next month, officials said.