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ESGR in the News


WASHINGTON ­– The 2024 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award nomination season opens soon, meaning Guard and Reserve servicemembers across the nation can submit their exceptional employers for national recognition beginning October 1 until December 31.

Nominations for the Freedom Award must come from a Guard or Reserve servicemember, or their family members, employed by the organization they are nominating. 

Servicemembers can nominate large and small employers from a broad cross-section of America, including health, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, banking, service, and security, as well as from federal, state and local government agencies.

There are many ways employers show their support for their military employers, as shown by last year’s award recipients.

Navy Reserve Warrant Officer Robert Musick nominated his employer, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Oakland California, and had this to say about working there. EBMUD is very supportive of my efforts with the Navy Reserve. Their policies have made it easier for me to balance the needs of my family, career, and my responsibilities to my Sailors and the U.S. Navy. Having my Naval designator/rating aligned with my specific trade and profession has helped me become a better leader and technician.”

Hickory Police Department, Hickory North Carolina was nominated by Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Andrew Robinson. "I am blessed to have an extremely supportive work family at the Hickory Police Department and City of Hickory. While deployed, I received numerous care packages, cards, emails, and other encouraging messages and phone calls from the members of our command staff and officers alike. I could not ask for a better place to work as a Military service member.”

USA Truck, Van Buren, Arkansas received its nomination from Army National Guard Sgt. Jordan Ray. “USA Truck provides amazing support for Service Members on drill, deployments or attending military schools.  They have created a military support mentorship program that is 2nd to none!   I am extremely grateful for their support, and the level at which this company is committed to ensuring the success of their Guardsmen and Reservist is truly unparalleled.”

Of the nearly 1,900 employers nominated by their Guard and Reserve employees, just 15 became recipients in 2023.

History of the Freedom Award

  • Freedom Award began in 1996 and is administered by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
  • The award recognizes outstanding employers and draws attention to support from the employer community.
  • Only 340 employers have received the award.
  • More than 30,000 nominations have been received since 2011.

For more information about the Freedom Award, and the steps to nominate your employer, visit To learn more about ESGR, visit


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