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ESGR Freedom Award Finalists Announced

ESGR Freedom Award Finalists Announced

ESGR Freedom Award Finalists Announced

By Debbie Gregory.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, has selected 30 employers and government organizations from 2,350 nominations for 2018 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, commonly referred to as the “Freedom Award.”

Almost half of the U.S. military is made up of National Guard and Reserve members, many of whom also hold jobs with civilian employers. The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

ESGR organizes the annual award program. The award was instituted in 1996 by then Secretary of Defense William Perry, and has since presented the honor to hundreds of recipients.

ESGR received nominations for employers in all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

Fifteen awards are presented in three categories – large (500 or more employees), small (fewer than 500 employees), and public sector.

Here are this year’s Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award finalists:

 

Amazon

AME Swiss Machining LLC

ArgenTech Solutions, Inc.

Barclays

Big Sky Advisors

Central Washington University

Crystal Group Inc.

CUNA Mutual Group

Duke Energy

Dunlap Police Department

Ecolab, Inc.

Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

FMI Corporation

Greencastle Associates Consulting Company

LG&E and KU Energy

Michigan Department of Corrections

Minnesota Department of Transportation

National Grid

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Prudential Financial Inc.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

South Charleston Police Department

State of Nevada

Stokes County Schools

Texas Department of Insurance

Werner Enterprises, Inc.

West Valley City

Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office

Worcester Police Department

In 2008, ESGR launched a web site for the Freedom Award. Using videos, news articles, profiles of recipients, and tips about employer best practices, the site provides information about the support that employers across the nation provide to their Guard and Reserve employees and their families. The site also houses the nomination form for the award.

 

Vietnam Special Forces Veteran to Receive Medal of Honor

gary rose

By Debbie Gregory.

As Director of Employer Engagement for California Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), I had the pleasure of meeting Retired Army Capt. Gary “Mike” Rose at a September ESGR event.

Rose, a Vietnam veteran, will receive the Medal of Honor on October 23rd.

In 1967, Rose decided to volunteer for the Army.  Thanks to high aptitude test scores, jump school and Special Forces training followed, and by October 1968, he was a Special Forces medic.

In 1970, Rose, a Green Beret, participated in Operation Tailwind, a classified mission in support of the Royal Lao Army, creating a diversion aimed at North Vietnamese Army troops.

While serving as a medic with Military Assistance Command, Vietnam — Studies and Observations Group, 5th Special Forces Group, Rose “repeatedly ran into the line of enemy fire to provide critical aid to his comrades, using his own body on one occasion to shield a wounded American from harm,” according to the White House.

Despite being wounded on the final day of the mission, Rose helped move wounded personnel to a helicopter extraction point.

“As he boarded the final extraction helicopter, intense enemy fire hit the helicopter, causing it to crash shortly after takeoff,” according to the White House. “Again, ignoring his own injuries, Sergeant Rose pulled the helicopter crew and members of his unit from the burning wreckage and provided medical aid until another extraction helicopter arrived.”

Over the four-day battle, Rose is credited with treating between 60 and 70 wounded troops, saving numerous lives.

Rose has asked the White House to include his fellow MACV-SOG veterans in the ceremony, as well as the Marines and Air Force personnel who supported the mission, particularly the A-1E Skyraider and AH-1 Cobra pilots who were there.

“To me, this medal is a collective medal, and it honors all those men who fought.”

In spite of the fact that Rose has only just taken up playing golf in the last few years, he is no stranger to hitting a hole in one.   I suggested he might consider buying a lottery ticket.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Reserve Component Forces Deserve Greater Job Protections

Soldiers from the Wisconsin and Utah Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve sing the Army song after donning the historic "Old Abe" patch ceremony at 101st Division Headquarters, at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 16, 2015. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) became the first division headquarters to convert to a multi-component unit division headquarters. The purpose of multi-component unit division headquarters is to fully integrate Reserve and National Guard Soldiers into the modification table of organization and equipment.

By Debbie Gregory.

Since the founding of our Republic, the citizen soldier has been ready, on-call to leave home and protect our nation. Although the United States has the greatest standing military force in the world today, that force cannot accomplish its mission of protecting liberty without the support and augmentation of our Reserve Component (RC) whether from the Army or Air National Guard or from the Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, or Coast Guard Reserve.

These Guard and Reserve troops comprise about half of our fighting forces. When citizen soldiers leave their families and civilian employment to protect our liberty, we have an obligation to them to protect their legal rights.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, also known as USERRA, is a Federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed servicemembers and their civilian employers. It ensures that the RC are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) informs and educates servicemembers and their civilian employers regarding their rights and responsibilities governed by USERRA. ESGR does not enforce USERRA, but serves as a neutral, free resource for employers and servicemembers.

It is up to Congress to update USERRA to reflect the increased training commitments of today’s force, and consider additional tax benefits such as deductions for hiring reservists and tax exemptions for “differential pay.”

Although USERRA compliance is the law, these efforts to reward employers who go above and beyond current requirements would be of great benefit to our RC. If you are an employer and would like to sign a statement of support, please contact  Debbie Gregory at [email protected] , and in my capacity as Director of Employer Engagement, for California ESGR, I will be happy to arrange a signing ceremony.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

The National Guard Is Vital

national guard

By Debbie Gregory.

While most of us are aware of the National Guard’s rapid response to civil unrest, hurricanes, wildfires and floods here at home, perhaps the most significant contribution the National Guard has made in recent years is on the battlefield.

After 9/11 and the start of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Defense began relying on the Guard to supplement operations. By 2005, the Army National Guard made up half of all combat brigades in Iraq.

Made up of two main forces, the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard, the Guard is a unique and essential element of the U.S. military.

Founded in 1636 as a citizen force organized to protect families and towns from hostile attacks, today’s National Guard Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense program established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Guard and Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.

I am proud to serve as the Director of Employer Engagement for California’s Employer Support of Guard and Reserve.

Some 2.8 million citizen soldiers have deployed since 9/11. There are over 150 different jobs available in the Guard. Infantry, Air Defense, Medical and Military Police are examples of Guard career fields. Opportunities are also available in intelligence, technology, engineering, aviation, and many other fields.

Being prepared to respond quickly is what the National Guard is all about. The motto “Always Ready, Always There” is more than just a slogan; it’s a call to action for the men and women of the National Guard.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

ESGR Week Celebrates Our Nation’s Guard and Reserve Troops

esgr

By Debbie Gregory.

August 21st through August 27th has been proclaimed by President Obama as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.

The president said, “For more than two centuries, brave patriots have given of themselves to secure our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and in times of both war and peace, members of the National Guard and Reserve have stood ready to don our uniform, answer our Nation’s call, and protect our way of life. This week, we recognize the important role played by the families, employers, and communities of these men and women in ensuring they can step forward and serve our country when they are needed most.”

As the Director of Employer Engagement for California’s ESGR, I see the sacrifices these servicemembers and their families make in order to balance their civilian lives with their commitment to our country’s safety and well-being. I also am privileged to liaise with their outstanding employers, who give their employees the flexibility that enables them to honor this commitment.

The employers who hire our National Guard troops and our Reservists give their employees the support which has been vital to the success, stability, and security of our Nation.

While the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) gives certain rights to uniformed servicemembers and their civilian employers, I have the pleasure of working with the employers who voluntarily sign a statement of support that they will do the right thing by their employees. Their employees do not need to worry about being discriminated against in their employment based on past, present, or future military service.

And that is something we should all honor and celebrate!

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Secretary of Defense Freedom Award Semifinalists Named

esgr freedom

By Debbie Gregory.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, has selected 139 employers as semifinalists for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, commonly referred to as the “Freedom Award.”

Almost half of the U.S. military is made up of National Guard and Reserve members, many of whom also hold jobs with civilian employers. The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

ESGR organizes the annual award program. The award was instituted in 1996 by then Secretary of Defense William Perry, and has since presented the honor to 220 employers.

Each year, up to 15 awards are presented to employers in the three categories – large (500 or more employees), small (fewer than 500 employees), and public sector.

This year’s semifinalist group is comprised of 48 large employers, 46 small employers, and 45 public sector employers. The nomination process is open to all Guard and Reserve personnel or a family member acting on their behalf and applications are submitted online to ESGR.

“Each of these 139 semifinalists have given great support to our citizen warriors,” said ESGR Director of Outreach Navy Capt. Steve Knight.  “They play a key role in maintaining the strength of the National Guard and Reserve, as they help take care of our troops and their families.”

ESGR received 2,424 nominations for employers in all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.  This year’s 30 finalists are expected to be announced in April, with the recipients being announced in late June.

In 2008, ESGR launched a web site for the Freedom Award. Using videos, news articles, profiles of recipients, and tips about employer best practices, the site provides information about the support that employers across the nation provide to their Guard and Reserve employees and their families. The site also houses the nomination form for the award.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Eight New ESGR State Chairs Named: Military Connection

esgr

By Debbie Gregory.

In a September 14th ceremony, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) announced new state chairs for eight of its state offices.

Leading efforts at the state level, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC) and three territories have a state chair assigned to promote cooperation and understanding between Reservists and their civilian employers.

We are proud to announce that Military Connection’s friend, General James Combs, was appointed the state chair for California.

The other incoming ESGR state chairs are:Darren Venters, AZ; Mark Lilevjen, CO; David Bockel, GA; Stephen Bogle, IA; Paul Cohen, NE; Stephen Karrick, NV; and Ted Durante, WY.

ESGR National Chair Paul Mock said, “These new leaders are at the tip of the spear. Every one of them is a proven leader, and I look forward to seeing the new heights they reach with their programs.”

Members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers form an alliance essential to the security of our nation. These brave men and women perform critical roles in disaster relief efforts at home and abroad, and continue to serve around the world to ensure our freedom. They could not perform their critical mission without support.

As chairs, these leaders are responsible for organizing and supervising ESGR volunteers. They also liaise with influential people, including governors, general and flag officers, elected officials, and business and community leaders.

For more than 40 years, the ESGR has assisted Reserve Component service members. Supported by a network of more than 4,600 volunteers across all 50 states, DC, Guam-CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the ESGR staff fosters a culture that values the citizen warriors of the National Guard and Reserve.

The ESGR continues to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families and America’s employers by joining forces with a network of other national, state and local government and professional trade organizations.

Together, We All Serve!

 

2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Winners: Military Connection

Freedom Award Winners

By Debbie Gregory.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, has selected the 15 employers named as the recipients for the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Now in its 20th year, the award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. The awards are presented each year to employers in three categories, large business, small business and the public sector.

The Freedom Award was created to publicly recognize employers who hire veterans and provide exceptional support to their Guard employees and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense. Nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member.

Senior DoD and other officials and representatives of prior recipient organizations narrowed the field of 30 nominees to the 15 Freedom Award recipients.

The winning companies are:

Black Hills Corporation

Boise Fire Department

BP America, Inc.

Cardinal Health

Cigna

City of Glendale

City of Shawnee

College of the Ozarks

CVS Health

Devon Energy

Dr. Joe A. Jackson, MD, PLLC

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall, Trexler, McCabe & Hudson

Snell & Wilmer, LLP

Town of Hingham

Walt Disney Co

Previous winners include Bank of America, McDonnell Douglas, Tektronix, Inc. and National Life of Vermont. If you would like to view all past recipients, visit http://www.freedomaward.mil/PastRecipientsView.aspx .

The finalists were selected from 2,960 nominations received from Guardsmen and reservists for going far beyond what federal law requires in support of military employees. At MilitaryConnection.com, we tip our hat to these outstanding employers and congratulate these recipients of the prestigious 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

 

Military Connection: DoD Names ‘Freedom Award’ Semifinalists

freedom

By Debbie Gregory.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, has selected 30 employers as finalists for the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Now in its 20th year, the award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. Up to 15 awards are presented each year to employers in three categories, large business, small business and the public sector.

The Freedom Award was created to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their Guard employees and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense. Nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member.

Senior DoD and other officials and representatives of prior recipient organizations will narrow the field of 30 nominees to fifteen Freedom Award recipients, to be honored at the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony. The field began with 150 semi-finalists.

Family and Employer Programs and Policy Acting Director M. Alex Baird said “Among thousands of employers across this great nation, these 30 employers have gone far above and beyond what is required to provide exemplary support to our military men and women as well as their families,”

Companies in the running are:

Arlington Police Department

Arvest Central Mortgage Company

BioTek Instruments Inc.

Black Hills Corporation

Boise Fire Department

BP America, Inc.

Cardinal Health

Christ’s Church of the Valley

Cigna

City of Glendale

City of Shawnee

College of the Ozarks

Columbus County Sheriff’s Office

Cranston Public Schools

CVS Health

Devon Energy

Dr. Joe A. Jackson, MD, PLLC

GlaxoSmithKline

Grandview Police Department

Hope Valley Industries

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office

Lexmark International

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall & Trexler APCL

None Such Farm, Inc.

Seattle Fire Department

Snell & Wilmer, LLP

State of Wisconsin

T-Mobile USA

Town of Hingham

Walt Disney Co

Previous winners include Bank of America, McDonnell Douglas, Tektronix, Inc. and National Life of Vermont. If you would like to view all past recipients, visit http://www.freedomaward.mil/PastRecipientsView.aspx .

At MilitaryConnection.com, we tip our hat to these outstanding employers as finalists for the prestigious 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: DoD Names ‘Freedom Award’ Semifinalists: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: ESGR Still Accepting Freedom Award Nominations:

ESGR

As MilitaryConnection.com reported on our November 17, 2014 blog, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is accepting nominations for the 2015 Freedom Awards.

The Freedom Awardthe nation’s highest honor given to civilian employers, is awarded to 15 employers in recognition of their efforts in support of their National Guard and Reserves employees. The award is presented by the ESGR, an office of the Department of Defense (DOD). The ESGR determines the employers most deserving of the prestigious award via nominations made by current members of the Guard and Reserves.

Freedom Award recipients are chosen by a national selection board, comprised of senior defense officials and business leaders. Each year, a Freedom Award ceremony is held in Washington, D.C. to present the awards to deserving employers.

Members of the Guard and Reserve make up nearly half of our nation’s military force. These service members are citizen-soldiers who provide essential services to maintain national security and conduct humanitarian efforts at home and abroad. The cooperation of their employers eases the burden of sacrifice on service members, and helps keep our military prepared and our nation protected.

The ESGR is asking for members of the Guard or Reserves, and their family members acting on the service member’s behalf, to submit nominations for employers deserving of the 2015 Freedom Award. Nominations for employers cover all industries, functions and sizes, as long as they are the service member’s current employer.

Nominations will be accepted at www.FreedomAward.mil through January 19, 2015.

MilitaryConnection.com is a “Top 100” employment website, and as such we want to be sure that the wonderful employers who go above and beyond in their efforts to support the members of the Guard and Reserves receive recognition. Military Connection is a long-time supporter of the ESGR and often facilitate Signings of Support for Employers.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: ESGR Still Accepting Freedom Award Nominations: By Debbie Gregory