ESGR in the News


HORSHAM, Pa. – Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program, announced that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission 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.


Pennsylvania Air National Guard TSgt. Stephen Guszick nominated the Turnpike Commission for the Freedom Award for their outstanding support of his military career.  In his nomination, Guszick stated in part: “The employees and management understand the sacrifices military members make while

away or deployed. They understand the importance of family and how my not being at home

makes things difficult. The employees and managers go out of their way to help my family.

For that I am eternally grateful.”  While he was deployed, colleagues in the Engineering Department took donations to provide a Christmas tree and gifts for his wife and son.


The nomination of the Turnpike Commission for the Freedom Award is highly endorsed by State ESGR Chair Wes Craig who stated in part: “It is an honor to nominate the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) for the Freedom Award, as they provide truly stellar support to all their employees in the Guard and Reserve. They have received many awards in the past ten years acknowledging this support: five ESGR Patriot awards for five different supervisors and two Seven Seals awards as well as recognition from the Special Forces Association, the 28th Division, and the PA Wounded Warriors. Their CEO is personally involved and sets the tone for the entire PTC when it comes to support for those employees in the Reserve Component. He has mandated training for all new supervisors that covers the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and military leave best practices. The PTC holds send off and welcome home celebrations when deployments occur. Both management and the PTC Employee Association work to provide any assistance needed by the family of deployed service members. Both groups stay in touch with deployed employees, easing their concerns for reemployment. The PTC pays for thirty days of fully paid military leave and then provides for a stipend of $520 per month for the duration. PTC employees are given full pay under any state active duty call up by the Governor. Guard members and Reservists are also given hiring preference.” 


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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