It’s that time of year again. Just as surely as the leaves begin to turn and the pigskins are flying, the start of fall marks the kick-off of Freedom Award nomination season. As of Oct. 1, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) began taking nominations for the 2019 Freedom Award. 

The award is the highest form of recognition given by the U.S. government to civilian employers for their support of Guard and Reserve members and their families.

If you are a Guard or Reserve member whose employer has supported you in your military career as well as your job with them, consider nominating them. Doing so not only gives your employer recognition, it also helps raise the bar nationwide for all employers. 

ESGR will be gathering nominations from Guard and Reserve employees for the 2019 award until Dec. 31, so act fast! You can begin the nomination process by filling out the form at http://www.FreedomAward.mil. It can take as little as fifteen minutes. 

The 2018 award ceremony, held Aug. 24 at the Pentagon, honored 15 companies for their exemplary support of employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserve.

Although the annual award ceremony is the capstone event, the true essence of the award lies in the commitment these outstanding employers make every day to work environments that promote readiness and resilience in the Guard and Reserve community. It’s patriotism expressed as company and organizational policy.  

For the 2018 award, Service members submitted 2,350 nominations, and ESGR state committees along with the DoD had the daunting task of whittling down that merited list to 15 exceptional organizations.

Could your employer be among the 2019 recipients? You won’t know unless you nominate. 

To view all of the nominees, semifinalists, finalists, and recipients for 2018, visit freedomaward.mil.

Here’s what some of last year’s nominators said about their outstanding employers:

Big Sky Advisors

I work for a small business, six employees, so the impact of when I leave is truly felt. However, that doesn’t deter my employer from encouraging me to pursue my military career, even if it means the load at the office will be heavier for the rest of the team.

­— 2nd Lt. Anthony Rich, Air National Guard

FMI Corporation

All of the leadership at FMI has thanked me for my service regularly and recognize my desire to maintain my active reserve status.  This includes allowing me to conduct drill, annual training, military education and deployments without any pressure.  In fact, FMI leadership and all employees of the firm, make my service feel very valued and appreciated.

— Maj. Jason Snyder, U.S. Air Force Reserve

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Thankfully my employer is supportive of my service and has never made me feel as though my absence, nor employment, was a liability on them. … [T]he leadership is thoughtful, heartfelt and amazing.

— Capt. Terry Lee Melcher, Army National Guard

South Charleston Police Department

Members of the department have checked in on my home and family while I’ve been away on military duty. Many have offered to help keep our lawn maintained or assist with other chores in my absence.

— Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Ellis, U.S. Army Reserve