Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

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Freedom Award Statue

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 National Guard and Reserve. To be eligible for the award, an employer must be nominated by one of its Guard or Reserve employees, or a family member of that employee.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 by then-Secretary of Defense William Perry under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 whose mission, according to its website, is to "gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through mediation."[1] The award was created to recognize the ways the nation's employers support their Guard and Reserve employees, and is the highest in a series of ESGR awards that include the Patriot Award, the Above and Beyond Award, and the Pro Patria Award.

A senior Defense Department official presents the awards at a dinner ceremony in Washington, DC; past presenters have included the Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Since 1996, over 100 employers have received the Freedom Award.

Freedom Award website[edit]

In 2008, ESGR launched a website 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.




  • 3M Company
  • Ameren Corporation
  • Burt County Sheriff's Office
  • CSX Transportation
  • Electrical Contractors Inc.
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Hanson Professional Services Inc.
  • Integrity Applications Incorporated
  • Orange County Sheriff's Department
  • The Principal Financial Group
  • Qwest Communications, now CenturyLink, Inc.
  • St. John's Lutheran Church
  • State Employees' Credit Union
  • Town of Gilbert
  • Wells Fargo & Company






Mitt Romney receiving the award on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2006










  • Charles Machine Works, Inc.
  • East Penn Manufacturing Co.
  • Entec Services, Inc.
  • Fred Meyer, Inc.
  • The Home Depot, Southeastern Division



This article contains information from a U.S. Government website in the public domain.


  1. ^ "About ESGR". Retrieved 2008-11-18.

External links[edit]