ARLINGTON, Va. – President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring September 22 – 28, 2013, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. The week recognizes the important contributions employers have made in supporting the military service of their National Guard and Reserve employees.
“The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve demonstrate an unfaltering commitment to our Union and our people. On the field of battle and here at home, they place themselves in harm's way to protect our freedoms, our lives, and our communities,” proclaimed President Obama.
Emphasizing the critical support employers provide, the President stated, “Alongside our Reservists and National Guard members, the employers who put them to work provide extraordinary support and flexibility. Our Nation is forever grateful to businesses that help service members advance their civilian careers, and ease transitions between military and civilian life.”
The week’s events will culminate with the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony on September 26. The ceremony will be hosted at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) will formally recognize 15 employers that have been named recipients of this year’s Freedom Award. Previous award recipients and Department of Defense leadership will be in attendance, in addition to trade associations and civilian government leaders.
The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest honor for employer support of National Guard and Reserve employees. The 2013 award recipients represent large and small businesses, as well as public sector agencies. They have distinguished themselves from a field of nearly 2,900 nominations submitted by Reserve Component Service members. These employers have gone above and beyond their legal obligations to military employees, offering formal and informal initiatives that ensure service members and their families are taken care of throughout all types of military service. The recipients’ measures of support included creating special hiring programs, providing personal support to families such as home maintenance, and continuing full benefits, salary, and additional paid leave options during deployment.
The Presidential Proclamation can be read at:
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office established in 1972, develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, ESGR runs the annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award program. Created in 1996, the Freedom Award has been presented to 175 employers since its inception.
For questions or information on media coverage of the ceremony, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.