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Fifteen exceptional employers recognized by DOD for top honor

WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense has selected the 15 recipients of the 2018 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This is the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

"It is my pleasure to recognize these 15 outstanding civilian employers," said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis. "Our National Guard and Reserve members are a vital part of our national defense and deserve as much support as our country can provide. These 15 employers lead the way and we are grateful for their role in helping to keep our nation safe and secure."

The Freedom Award recipients below will be honored August 24 at a Pentagon ceremony:

-- Texas Department of Insurance, Austin, Texas

-- Duke Energy, Charlotte, North Carolina

-- Dunlap Police Department, Dunlap, Tennessee

-- Crystal Group Inc., Hiawatha, Iowa

-- AME Swiss Machining LLC, Ligonier, Indiana

-- Greencastle Associates Consulting LLC, Malvern, Pennsylvania

-- Argen Tech Solutions Inc., Newmarket, New Hampshire

-- Werner Enterprises Inc., Omaha, Nebraska

-- FMI Corp., Raleigh, North Carolina

-- Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury, Maryland

-- Amazon, Seattle

-- Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

-- South Charleston Police Department, South Charleston, West Virginia

-- Big Sky Advisors, St. Louis

-- Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, Minnesota

The 2018 recipients were selected from more than 2,350 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 250 honorees to date.

For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit To learn more about ESGR, part of the Defense Personnel and Family Support Center, visit

Published July 1, 2018

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