Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, 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”).ESGR_GatsbyScrim_v7 (2)

The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the DoD to employers for their support of National Guard and Reserve members. On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, ESGR organizes the annual award program, which has presented the honor to 220 employers since 1996. 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.

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 Freedom Award recognizes those employers that provide the most outstanding support for these Citizen Warriors.

“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. Updates, press releases and a complete list of the 2,424 nominees can be found at http://tinyurl.com/zuss7jj.

For more information on the 2016 Freedom Award nominees, contact Maj. S.J. Brown at (571) 372-0692 or by email at Sabra.j.brown.mil@mail.mil. For more information on ESGR, please visit www.esgr.mil.