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ESGR in the News


Fifteen Exceptional Employers Recognized for Top Honor

WASHINGTON ­– The Department of Defense is pleased to announce the 15 recipients of the 2023 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

The recipients include small and large private and public sector employers nominated by a National Guard or Reserve Component Service member employed in their organization. Celebrating its 27th year, the Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 340 honorees to date.

"On behalf of the Department of Defense, congratulations to the 2023 Freedom Award recipients as we mark the 27th year of this highly coveted recognition," said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. "We appreciate everything they do for our National Guardsmen, our Reservists, and their families. Employer support is just as important today as it was 50 years ago when our nation transitioned to an All-Volunteer force. Without the unfaltering support of employers like this year's recipients, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve would not be able to fulfill their vital mission in our nation's defense and security. It is a great honor for me to recognize these employers."

ESGR received 1,863 nominations for this prestigious award for employers throughout the 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia. The recipients distinguished themselves by going far beyond the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, to support their National Guard and Reserve employees. Many offered enhanced pay and benefit packages; flexible scheduling and generous leave policies; and pre- and post- deployment support. In addition, they implemented robust training to equip human resource professionals and managers to support their organization’s military serving employees; stayed connected to deployed employees by sending care packages; and took care of their employees’ families during deployments by assisting with household repairs, including them in company functions, or providing financial assistance.

This year’s Freedom Award recipients will be formally recognized at the Pentagon in late August.

The 2023 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipients                      

  • American Bureau of Shipping, Spring, Texas (Army National Guard, Texas)
  • CAM Superline, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania (Army National Guard, Pennsylvania)
  • Consumers Energy, Jackson, Michigan, (Air National Guard, Michigan)
  • E.L. Hollingworth and Co.   Flint, Michigan (Army National Guard, Michigan)
  • East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Oakland, California (Navy Reserve, California)
  • Exigo Corporation, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Air Force Reserve, Colorado)
  • Fiserv, Inc., Brookfield, Wisconsin (Air National Guard, Wisconsin)
  • Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Office, Houston, Texas (Army Reserve, Texas)
  • Hickory Police Department Hickory, North Carolina (Army Reserve, North Carolina)
  • King County  Seattle, Washington (Coast Guard Reserve, Washington)
  • Knox County Public Schools, Knoxville, Tennessee (Army National Guard, Tennessee)
  • Mechanical Resource Group, Nashville, Tennessee (Army National Guard, Tennessee)
  • Ryzhka International, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Army National Guard, Florida)
  • UBS Financial Services, Inc. Weehawken, New Jersey (Navy Reserve, New Jersey)
  • USA Truck, Van Buren, Arkansas (Army National Guard, Arkansas)

For more information about the Freedom Award, visit To learn more about ESGR, a program of the Defense Personnel and Family Support Office, visit

About ESGR

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.


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