Employer Support of the Guard, Reserve accepting award nominations Published Nov. 26, 2013 By ESGR staff report ARLINGTON, Va. -- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office, is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense's highest honor presented to civilian employers for exceptional support of their National Guard and reserve employees. ESGR encourages Guardsmen and Reservists, or family members acting on their behalf, to submit nominations at www.FreedomAward.mil by Jan. 20, 2014. Guard and reserve members comprise nearly 50 percent of the nation's military force, providing essential services to national security and humanitarian efforts at home and abroad. "Across the Nation, employers have shown noteworthy support to their service member employees and families," said Paul Mock, the ESGR National Chair. "Whether on routine duty, responding to natural disasters or serving in a deployed location, employers who encourage military service make it easier to serve. "By submitting a Freedom Award nomination, a member of the National Guard or reserve can acknowledge and thank their employer for the critical role they play in our nation's defense." Each year, up to 15 deserving employers are selected as Freedom Award recipients and are recognized in Washington, D.C. Examples of past recipient support included: continued benefits and healthcare for deployed service members, home maintenance and child care support and veteran hiring initiatives. About ESGR and the Freedom Award: Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense organization established in 1972, develops and maintains employer support for Guard and reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is the encouragement of the employment of Guardsmen and reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, ESGR runs the annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award program. Created in 1996, the Freedom Award has been presented to 190 employers, including NV Energy and MGM Resorts International. For questions or information on the Freedom Award, call (571) 372-0705 or write to: OSD.ESGR-PA@mail.mil.