WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper named Columbia, Missouri-based Veterans United Home Loans as one of only 15 recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in recognition of the organization’s exemplary support for its National Guard and Reserve employees.
“I am proud to recognize these 15 outstanding civilian employers,” said Esper. “The citizen warriors of the National Guard and Reserve have evolved from a strategic reserve to become an integral component of the operational force. Having employers who support their military service is critical to their success and the success of our National Defense Strategy. We salute these exemplary employers for their steadfast commitment to their Guard and Reserve employees, their patriotism, and their contributions to the defense and security of our great Nation.”
Veterans United was selected from 2,623 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them. The Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 295 honorees to date.
“We appreciate everything ESGR does to support our service members throughout the nation, and are honored to receive this award,” said Veterans United CEO Nate Long. “Since the beginning, we’ve worked hard to ensure our Veterans, service members, and military spouses understand how much we appreciate their service and the sacrifices they make. We will continue to do everything we can to support the Guardsmen and Reservists in our Veterans United family.”
Veterans United was nominated for the award by Adam Craig, who serves as a senior master sergeant in the Missouri Air National Guard.
“After my promotion to E-8, Veterans United had my spouse and children record a surprise video saying how proud they were of me,” Craig said. “They then played the clip at their national Military Appreciation Dinner.”
Veterans United far exceeds the Uniformed Service member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The company supports its military employees by offering up to 80 hours of paid time off for deployed service member employees; differential pay up to five years during federal services; care packages every two months during deployments; time off for Veterans Day; Military Appreciation Days; and sponsoring the ‘Hero of the Game’ program with the University of Missouri.
Understanding military culture is very important to Veterans United. Each new employee attends military orientation class during training, providing them with insight into the life of a service member. In addition, military protocol is strictly followed, respected, and honored at Veterans United during military holidays.
Military representation is impressive as well, with a total number of Veterans and currently-serving military members in their workforce at 222 – seven percent of the company’s workforce. This includes 27 current Guard and Reserve employees.
Veterans United has been recognized nationally as a top employer. In August, it was ranked by Forbes as the best employer in the State of Missouri. Militaryfriendly.com named it a top “Military Friendly Employer” with Gold distinction, and “Military Friendly Spouse Employer,” and by Fortune magazine as a “Best Company to Work For.”
The award will be presented to Veterans United by retired Brig. Gen. Greg Mason, State Chair of the Missouri ESGR State Committee at their Corporate Headquarters on a date to be announced soon. For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s Freedom Award recipients, visit www.FreedomAward.mil. To learn more about ESGR, visit www.ESGR.mil.
ESGR is a Department of Defense program 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.