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ESGR in the News


HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program, announced that Fulton Bank is a state finalist for the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award.  The finalists for this prestigious award include small, large private and public sector employers, nominated by a National Guard or Reserve employee in their organization.  Award nominations are accepted from all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia.

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

The Department of Defense will announce the 15 employers selected to receive the 2023 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by mid-June. The recipients will be honored in a ceremony at the Pentagon in August.

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to forward Fulton Bank’s nomination for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces during ESGR’s 50th Anniversary year.  The bank’s nomination was selected from the 17 service member submissions in the large business category. 

Pennsylvania Army National Guard Lt. Col. Brett Gagnon nominated the Fulton Bank for the Freedom Award for their outstanding support of his military career.  In his nomination, Gagnon stated in part: “…on my most recent deployment my supervisor and peers sent my family a card and gift cards thanking them for their sacrifices. My co-workers are always available to support my family while I am on military duty.  It makes me feel great that not only I and my my family are supported; that support enables me to continue my military service in the Guard. … Fulton Bank provides a continuation of both pay and benefits.  Paid military leave and benefits, they cover differential pay for up to six months a year. Benefits are also covered for periods of service.”

Fulton Bank’s nomination for the Freedom Award is highly endorsed by State ESGR Chair Marty Kuhar who stated: “Fulton Bank ensures everyone understand the USERRA law. All supervisors are trained annually, USERRA posters are at each work site, and it is in the new employee handbook and on the company intranet.  Numerous Fulton Bank supervisors have received a Patriot Award, Seven Seals Award, and Above and Beyond Awards. They have also attended an ESGR Boss Lift event and awards luncheon for which the received a PA ESGR Certificate of Support.  Fulton Bank cares about their military members!  Most importantly, Fulton Bank demonstrates their strong support for citizen soldiers service in the National Guard and Reserve forces. They provided deployed service members with cards, letters and care packages and continuously correspond with individuals on active duty and during annual training.  Fulton Bank organizes peers and supervisors to help care for the families of deployed members by sending them cards, letters, and gift cards during periods of long deployments.”  Kuhar also noted that Fulton Bank actively seeks to hire members of the Guard and Reserve, and currently employs over 100 members serving in the Guard and reserve forces.” 

ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.  

For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit  Information about the Freedom Award can be found at


Posted in: Pennsylvania
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