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ESGR in the News


WASHINGTON ­– Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III named Medtronic one of the 15 recipients of the 2021 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 salute the outstanding employers who have earned the distinction of being named Freedom Award recipients as we mark the 25th year of this highly coveted recognition,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.  “The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve make significant contributions to our communities and our national security through their civilian and military careers.  We owe a debt of gratitude to these exemplary employers, who by valuing and supporting their employees’ military service, enhance the strength, readiness, and diversity of our National Guard and Reserve forces.”

Medtronic along with 14 other recipients were selected from 3,382 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them. Celebrating its 25th year, the Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 310 honorees to date.

Medtronic shows extensive support to its military employees by providing maximum flexibility to accommodate military requirements. The company arranged for a nominator to work remotely out-of-state for weeks, to support his Active Duty significant other's preparation for deployment, after which he returned and had to prepare for his own deployment. Medtronic is committed to family members as well. A military spouse was offered to suspend all work travels and was given time off during husband’s deployment to care for her children and reduce work stress.

“Medtronic continues to demonstrate its enduring support throughout my (and others) military careers, no matter what state or business unit we call home,” said U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Ruben Hidalgo, who nominated Medtronic for the award.  “Medtronic mission, ethos, and values closely align with the values of military service. We are proud to work for an organization that does not make us feel like we have to choose one career over the other.”

Hidalgo went on to say, “The support we have received is more than a ‘policy’, rather it is deeply rooted into Medtronic culture and ethos. Our loyalty to Medtronic is driven by their demonstrated support to us as Soldiers and Medtronic professionals above and beyond all expectations.”   

Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha highlighted the tremendous value National Guard and Reserve service members bring to the company. “As the son and grandson of military members, I’m honored to see Medtronic be named a recipient of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award. Vets and active National Guard and Reserve members have a unique set of skills and contribute greatly to our diverse population of leaders. I’m proud of our active and passionately engaged military community that serve their countries as well as patients around the world, advancing Medtronic.”

Tom Simonet, Chair of the Minnesota ESGR State Committee will present the award to Medtronic in a local ceremony.

For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s Freedom Award recipients, visit To learn more about ESGR, visit

About ESGR

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.

Posted in: Minnesota
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