The Department of Defense announced today the 15 recipients of the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor the department gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

“These 15 employers have distinguished themselves through their outstanding support of our Guard and Reserve members and their families,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter.  “Without the unfaltering support of employers like them, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve would not be able to fulfill their vital roles in our National Security Strategy.  It is a great honor for me to recognize these employers, and I congratulate them on their receipt of the Employer Support Freedom Award.”

The 2016 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon Aug. 26:

Employer Location Nominator’s Branch of Service
Alaska Airlines Anchorage, AK Air Force Reserve
Albuquerque Police Department Albuquerque, NM Air National Guard
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Springfield, MO Navy Reserve
Burford Corporation Maysville, OK Army National Guard
Carolinas Healthcare System Charlotte, NC Air National Guard
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Oregon City, OR Army National Guard
Delmarva Veteran Builders Salisbury, MD Air Force Reserve
FASTSIGNS International, Inc. Carrollton, TX Air Force Reserves
Hope Valley Industries North Kingstown, RI Air National Guard
Idaho State Police Meridian, ID Army Reserve / Army National Guard
Lowe’s Mooresville, NC Navy Reserve
Maryland State Police Pikesville, MD Army Reserve
Prairie Grove Consolidated School District 46 Crystal Lake, IL Marine Corps Reserve
Seattle Fire Department Seattle, WA Navy Reserve
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Akron, OH Navy Reserve


The 2016 recipients were selected from 2,424 nominations received from guardsmen and reservists.  The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 220 employers have been honored with the award.