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ESGR in the News


WASHINGTON – Do you have a story to tell about how exceptional your employer’s support is to Guard and Reserve service members?  If your employer goes above and beyond in their support for Guardsmen or Reservists, nominate them for the 2022 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award!

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Porta speaks highly of his employer saying: “The entire team at INNIO Waukesha Gas Engines has always been extremely supportive and proud of my service – for which I am eternally grateful.  From the top down, I have always been encouraged to complete my duties when called upon by the U.S. Coast Guard, no matter the difficulties it places on our business.”

And J.B. Hunt nominator, Arkansas Army National Guard Sgt. Khrystel Cavness said, “When companies are looking for ways to better support their veterans J.B. Hunt is the company to look at. They are leading the way in supporting their military personnel.”

Melissa “Missy” Olson, the spouse of U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Douglas Olson wrote, “Words cannot express the appreciation and support from Medtronic during my husband’s yearlong deployment to the Middle East.  Having a loved one serving in the military can be stressful at times, but knowing that your employer has your back and really cares about the families’ well-being at home is incredibly comforting and honorable.”

These are stories from just a few of the employers who received the Department of Defense’s highest employer award – the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.  Of the nearly 3,400 employers nominated by their Guard and Reserve employees, just 15 became recipients in 2021.

Nomination Season opens Oct. 1, and runs through Dec. 31. For more information about the Freedom Award, or how to nominate your employer, visit

Nominations for the Freedom Award must come from a Guard or Reserve service member, or their family members, employed by the organization they are nominating.  Service members can nominate large and small employers from a broad cross-section of America, including health, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, banking, service, and security, as well as from federal, state and local government agencies.

History of the Freedom Award

  • Freedom Award began in 1996 and is administered by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
  • The award recognizes outstanding employers and draws attention to support from the employer community.
  • Only 310 employers have received the award.
  • More than 27,000 nominations have been received since 2011.

To learn more about ESGR, visit

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