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ESGR in the News


HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced that Vision Academy Charter School is a state finalist for the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award. The finalists for this prestigious award include small business, large private business and public sector employers, that are 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 up to 15 employers selected to receive the 2024 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by mid-June. The recipients will be honored in a ceremony at the Pentagon in August. Award nominations are evaluated and awarded points based on the answers a nominating service member provides to eight criteria:

  • Service Member Support while performing military duties,
  • 2) Family Support during military duty,
  • 3) Pay Compensation policies,
  • 4) Benefit Compensation policies,
  • 5) Service Member Recognition,
  • 6) Hiring Practice,
  • 7) Uniform Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) awareness, and
  • 8) previous ESGR Awards received.

Pennsylvania ESGR is particularly proud to forward Vision Academy Charter School’s nomination in the public sector for their strong support of their employees serving in our nation’s Reserve forces. The Agency’s nomination was selected from the 11 service member submissions in the large business category.

Pennsylvania Army National Guard Sgt. Ahmadou Njimoke nominated the Vision Academy Charter School for the Freedom Award for their outstanding support of his military career. While Vision Academy Charter School obtained rankings for all eight evaluation criteria, three noteworthy comments in Njimoke’s nomination addressed Member Support, Family Support, Pay, and Benefits.

Dr. Adams, the Academy’s Chief Executive Officer and founder takes a proactive approach to supporting and recognizing members of the Reserve forces. Prior to deployment, Adams reviewed all Njimoke’s rights under USERRA and assured him that his benefits and position status continued while he was serving on active duty. Njimoke indicated that he received outstanding support from the Academy’s leadership and coworkers who periodically made efforts to correspond with him during his deployment. Upon Njimoke’s return from active duty the school held an assembly to recognize, show their support, and thank him for his service in the National Guard.

Vision Academy Charter School’s nomination for the Freedom Award is highly endorsed by State ESGR Chair Marty Kuhar who stated: “Vision Academy Charter School demonstrates their strong support for citizen soldiers serving in the National Guard and Reserve forces. The Academy provides outstanding benefits and recognition to their employees serving our nation.” Kuhar also noted that Adams leads the Academy’s recruiting programs and prioritizes hiring members of the Guard and Reserve forces.

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, 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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