Department of Defense Announces Recipients of 2013 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award

Department of Defense Announces Recipients of 2013 Secretary of Defense Freedom AwardARLINGTON, Va.

–­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. These employers distinguished themselves among the 2,899 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists. The 2013 recipients will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2013.

"I commend and thank the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support to our Citizen Warriors," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "So many of our Nation’s employers are finding ways to contribute to our Nation’s security, but these employers stand out for their commitment to our Guardsmen and Reservists. They have the gratitude and thanks of the entire Department of Defense.”

The 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients are:

Employer Location
Albuquerque Fire Department Albuquerque, N.M.
Bank of America Charlotte, N.C.
C.W. Driver Pasadena, Calif.
City of Columbus Columbus, Ohio
Colorado Springs Utilities Colorado Springs, Colo.
DaVita, Inc. Denver, Colo.
Eastman Chemical Company Kingsport, Tenn.
Family Allergy & Asthma Louisville, Ky.
Humana Louisville, Ky.
Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. San Antonio, Texas
Richland County Sheriff’s Department Columbia, S.C.
Safeway Inc. Pleasanton, Calif.
Steel Plate Fabricators Knoxville, Tenn.
U.S. Bank Minneapolis, Minn.
U.S. Marshals Service Washington, D.C.

Freedom Award recipients stand out by going above and beyond what the federal law requires of Guard and Reserve employers. They go to extraordinary lengths to support their military employees through both formal and informal initiatives. The 2013 recipients’ exemplary support includes forming an employee resource network for military employees and their families, providing additional paid military leave to Guard and Reserve employees, setting and surpassing employment goals for veterans and service members, and extending personal support to families.

Since 1996, only 175 employers have received the Freedom Award. Previous awardees have met with the President and Vice President of the United States, and the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section.

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 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.

For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at