ESGR in the News


HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) program, announced that Penn Medicine is a finalist for the 2020 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award.  The finalists include small and large private and public sector employers, nominated by a National Guard or Reserve employee in their organization. ESGR received 2,623 nominations for this prestigious award for employers throughout the 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 only 280 employers since 1996.

The Department of Defense will announce the 15 employers selected to receive the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by mid-June. The recipients will be honored in a ceremony at the Pentagon August 28.


Penn Medicine is a world renown teaching and research hospital, founded in 1751 as the nation’s first hospital. It opened its school of medicine, also the nation’s first, in 1765. The two founding doctors, Drs. Morgan and Shippen went on to serve as the equivalent to Surgeon General for General George Washington’s Continental Army. Penn Medicine staffs several hospitals in Philadelphia, West Chester, Lancaster and Princeton as well as hundreds of outpatient centers throughout the region. They have recently participated in many important medical discoveries including development of the first pneumonia vaccine, total intravenous feeding, MRI technology and discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome which makes the connection between genetic abnormalities and cancer.


U.S. Air Force Reserve Col. Jeremy Cannon nominated the hospital system for the Freedom Award for their outstanding support of his military career.  In nominating Penn Medicine, Cannon recounted the extraordinary support Guard, Reserve members, and Veterans receive.  Penn Medicine has been recognized as at Military Friendly Employer by Victory Media and a Yellow Ribbon school as well for their consistently strong support of all their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.  The Veterans Care Excellence Program (VCEP) recognizes and supports military personnel and their families while serving on active duty by providing regular communications during deployments and ombudsman services to families in need.


The nomination of Penn Medicine for the Freedom Award is highly endorsed by Pennsylvania ESGR Chair Wes Craig who stated in part: “It is a privilege to nominate the University of Pennsylvania Health Care System (Penn Medicine) for the Freedom Award. They fully appreciate and value the work ethic, leadership skills and professionalism that military members bring to the civilian work place. They recruit heavily from the ranks of the Guard and Reserve. Their hiring managers are encouraged to complete the SHRM “Veterans at Work” certification that helps translate military experience into civilian skills. They are a recognized Military Friendly Employer and Yellow Ribbon School as they are both a teaching hospital and full care medical facility. Penn Medicine provides for full pay for regular drills and annual training, and extends all benefits and a pay differential for long term deployments. Penn Medicine regularly provides medical training for DoD doctors and nurses and has since the days of the Revolutionary War! Their care for military members is driven by the personal leadership of their CEO, Dr. Kevin Mahoney. He personally greets all new hires and singles out all veterans and coins them during a meet and greet reception. He formed the Veterans Care Excellence Program (VCEP) that should be a best practice for the entire nation.” 


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.  

For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit
Posted in: Pennsylvania
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