BANGOR, Maine — A Department of Defense agency, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, announced Tuesday that 11 Maine National Guard and Reserve members had nominated their employers for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
The agency received 3,236 nominations nationwide for the award, which is the DoD’s highest recognition for employers supporting members of the Guard and Reserve.
Maine employers nominated for the Freedom Award are: WMTW-TV, Auburn; Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway, Bangor; Camden Police Department; Colortyme Rent to Own, Ellsworth; Nichols Top of the Hill Grill and BBQ, New Sharon; Loring Job Corps Center-Career Systems Development Corp., Limestone; Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Wiscasset; The Home Depot, Rockland; Delta Ambulance, Waterville; and the Maine Turnpike Authority and Vision Payment Solutions, Portland.
Up to 15 recipients will be announced this summer and honored at the 17th annual Freedom Award Ceremony on Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C.
Guard and Reserve members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated the employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season. Guard and Reserve members, who stand ready to serve whenever needed, often put their civilian lives on hold when they answer the call to duty, the agency said in a news release regarding the award.
It said that supportive employers provide stability and peace of mind to the Guardsmen, Reservists and their families, enabling them to continue their service to the nation.
“Guardsmen and Reservists continue to receive outstanding support from their employers,” said James G. Rebholz, national chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. “America’s employers have not wavered in their commitment to these citizen warriors.”
Almost half of the U.S. military is composed of the Guard and Reserve members, and while most employers support their military employees, Freedom Award recipients go above and beyond what is required by law, the agency said.
Last year’s recipients were nominated for superior acts of support, including driving a deployed employee’s children to school, replacing a military employee’s broken family refrigerator while he was serving abroad, and working overtime to cover a service member’s shifts so he could take part in military training.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. Since then, 160 employers have been honored with the award.
Established 40 years ago, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. The agency works to advance relevant initiatives, recognize outstanding support, increase awareness of applicable laws and resolve conflict between service members and employers.
More information about the recognition program and a list of nominations from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia are available at www.FreedomAward.mil. Semifinalists for the 2012 Freedom Award will be announced next month.