DoD calls on Guard and Reserve Members to Nominate supportive employers for 2012 Freedom Award Published Dec. 8, 2011 By Beth Sherman ESGR Public Affairs ARLINGTON, Va -- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, encourages Guard and Reserve members to nominate their supportive employers for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award as only five weeks remain until the deadline. The Freedom Award is the DoD's highest award for civilian employers supporting Guard and Reserve members. As our nation faces ongoing national security demands, it is critically important to recognize employers that go above and beyond in their support of Guard and Reserve members and promote their support as a model for others to follow. More than 1,700 service members have submitted nominations since November 1; 238 of those nominations came from members of the Air National Guard. Service members who have yet to nominate their employers are urged to do so now. Nominations may be submitted by service members, or a family member acting on their behalf, at www.FreedomAward.mil through January 16, 2012. "At a time when news of our economic situation is often told in grim terms and negative numbers, the untold stories highlighting thousands of employers showing extraordinary support to their Guard and Reserve employees and their families are really important," said James Rebholz, ESGR National Chair. "Employers' steadfast commitment deserves our recognition and heartfelt gratitude. We are looking to our individual Guard and Reserve members to nominate their employers who are most deserving of the Department's highest honor -- the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award." The 2012 recipients will be announced in early summer and honored in Washington, DC during a special ceremony next fall. All employers - large, small and public - are eligible for nomination. Recipients for the 2011 Freedom Award included diverse employers such as an automotive industry leader, national financial services company, two sheriff's departments, an Arizona town, and a church. About Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and the Freedom Award: The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 160 employers have been honored with the award. ESGR was established in 1972 to develop and maintain 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 encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil or contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 703-696-1171, ext. 539 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.