ARLINGTON, Va. — Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense operational committee, announced that two Maine employers have been selected as semifinalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest honor for employers that provide extraordinary support to their Guard and Reserve employees. This year, 138 semifinalists stood out among 2,899 employers nominated by a Guard or Reserve employee.
The Maine employers named semifinalists are Kennebec Behavioral Health, Waterville; and State of Maine, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Warden Service, Augusta.
More than 1 million Americans serve in the National Guard and Reserve, playing a critical role in both combat and humanitarian missions. The Freedom Award provides these service members with an opportunity to recognize civilian employers that go above and beyond in supporting their service.
Employers selected as semifinalists assist Guard and Reserve employees through formal and informal initiatives, including setting veteran hiring goals, establishing military employee liaisons, providing childcare for deployed employees, arranging care package drives, and granting additional leave for military employees and family members before and after deployments.
“Freedom Award semifinalists stand out for their extraordinary support and steadfast commitment to our nation’s Citizen Warriors,” said ESGR Executive Director Ronald G. Young in a press release. “National Guard and Reserve members show tremendous resolve overseas and during times of domestic crises. Our nation owes a special debt of gratitude to employers enabling these brave men and women to serve.”
ESGR will announce the 2013 Freedom Award finalists next month after a review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selects the 30 most supportive employers. Up to 15 award recipients will be announced early this summer and honored in Washington, D.C. in September at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony.
A complete list of Freedom Award semifinalists from each state is available at www.FreedomAward.mil under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award. ESGR develops and maintains 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.