ESGR Concludes Successful Secretary of Defense Freedom Award Nomination Season  

WASHINGTON – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) proudly announces a successful 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award nomination season. ESGR received 3,382 nominations for this prestigious award for employers throughout the 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia.

The 3,382 nominations received from a National Guard or Reserve employee in their organization highlight the tremendous support employers provide to their Reserve Component employees.

The Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve members.

On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, ESGR runs the annual award program, which has presented the honor to only 295 employers since 1996.

The Department of Defense will announce up to 15 employers selected to receive the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by mid-June.

About ESGR

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.


Freedom Award semifinalists named

WASHINGTON ­– In Virginia, a company’s veteran support group held a care package drive to support two National Guard units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  The group also hosted coat drives for homeless veterans, built ramps for disabled vets, and raised money for local veteran charities.

An Arizona employer sent his deployed National Guardsman so many holiday cookies that he decided to play Secret Santa and secretly delivered them throughout the barracks.

An Alabama company covers all costs for counseling visits for veterans returning from combat deployments.

These highlights illustrate efforts by just a few of this year’s semifinalists for the Department of Defense’s highest employer award, the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This year’s 148 semifinalists were selected from 3,064 nominations submitted by Guardsmen and Reservists.  The group represents large and small employers from almost every industry, as well as from state and local governments. ESGR received nominations for employers in all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

Check out this year’s complete list of semifinalists at:

History of the Freedom Award

- The Freedom Award began in 1996 by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to draw attention to support from the employer community.

- To date, only 235 employers have received the award.

- More than 17,000 nominations have been received since 2011.


For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit To learn more about ESGR, visit