Albuquerque Fire Department Selected as Finalist for 2013 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award



ARLINGTON, Va. –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced Albuquerque Fire Department, City of Albuquerque of Albuquerque, N.M. as a finalist for 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 employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. A review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selected 30 finalists from a pool of 2,899 nominations submitted earlier this year by National Guard and Reserve Service members.

Freedom Award finalists distinguish themselves by implementing both formal policies and informal initiatives that go above and beyond in assisting and encouraging National Guard and Reserve service. A Navy Reservist nominated Albuquerque Fire Department, City of Albuquerque. The nominator highlighted the Fire Department’s Deployed Military Support Program which ensures proper payroll, leave and benefits for deployed employees; provides families direct access to the Fire Chief for assistance at home; and coordinates care packages and letters of support from department leadership and fellow firefighters. The City of Albuquerque also grants up to 66 days of paid military leave to employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve.

“The 2013 Freedom Award finalists demonstrate the type of outstanding support our National Guard and Reserve Service members count on when answering the nation’s call to serve,” said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. “These employers recognize the valuable role they play in the lives of our Citizen Warriors; and in supporting these men and women, the finalists have made a critical contribution to our national security. On behalf of ESGR and the DoD, I want to thank each of the 2013 finalists for their extraordinary support.”

A national selection board of senior DoD officials, business leaders and prior awardees will select 15 Freedom Award recipients, which will be announced early this summer. 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. Past recipients of the Freedom Award have met privately with the President and Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A complete list of Freedom Award finalists is available at www.FreedomAward.mil 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. 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.

For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at OSD.ESGR-PA@mail.mil.