Steel Plate Fabricators Named a 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipient

ARLINGTON, Va. –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today that Steel Plate Fabricators of Knoxville, Tenn. is one of 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.”

Steel Plate Fabricators was nominated by a member of the Air National Guard. The nominator reported when a clerical error delayed his military pay, the owner of Steel Plate Fabricators provided a loan to support him until the pay issue was resolved. The nominator also noted the company finds unique ways to recognize its military employees, including creating a laser-cut stainless steel American flag that is displayed in the front office and maintaining a memorial wall showcasing the military service of employees.

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 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.

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.

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 individual employer releases, visit under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section. For interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at