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3 Colo. companies in running for national Freedom Award 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
ESGR logo 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CONTACT:
Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs
571-372-0705
ESGR-PA@osd.mil

Brent Hamilton, Colorado ESGR
720-250-1176

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (5/21/13) – The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office, announced today that three Colorado employers are finalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The Freedom Award is the department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

Still in the running for the national award are: Colorado Springs Utilities of Colorado Springs, Colo., in the public sector category; DaVita Inc., of Denver, in the large business category; and JG Management Systems, Inc., of Grand Junction, Colo., in the small business category.

A review board composed of military and civilian leaders selected the top 30 employers from a pool of 2,899 nominations submitted earlier this year by National Guard and Reserve service members throughout all the U.S. states and territories.

Colorado companies comprise 10 percent of the 30 finalists, even though the total number of National Guardsmen and Reservists who call Colorado home comprise less than 2 percent of the nation’s total reserve component.

Freedom Award finalists distinguish themselves by implementing formal policies and informal initiatives that go above and beyond in assisting and encouraging National Guard and Reserve service.

“When companies like these proactively support their military employees, it helps us to not only maintain our readiness, but also maintain the standards and experience our service members bring to both their employers and their service components,” said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, who commands the Colorado National Guard.

According to a February ESGR report, 13,400 National Guard and Reserve service members call Colorado home. These men and women work, live, and raise their families in communities throughout the state – often in the very communities they protect.

The Colorado National Guard is a federally recognized, immediately accessible, community-based defense force composed of more than 5,500 Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen. 

“The readiness of our Guardsmen and Reservists to respond to a state emergency or deploy overseas is a direct result of the support our reserve-component service members get from their employers,” Edwards said. “The civilian skills our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen bring with them also provide a natural bridge to working with civil authorities during domestic emergency response missions, such as the devastating 2012 wildfires, as well as many other missions throughout the world.”

The 2013 finalists offered such gestures of support as creating veteran mentoring programs for service members transitioning to civilian life, offering flexible scheduling to allow Guardsmen and Reservists to attend to military tasks during business hours, and hosting an internal website accessible to deployed employees and their families so they could more easily keep in touch and see messages of support from their co-workers.

“The 2013 Freedom Award finalists demonstrate the type of outstanding support our National Guard and Reserve Service members count on when answering the nation’s call to serve,” said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. “These employers recognize the valuable role they play in the lives of our Citizen Warriors, and in supporting these men and women, the finalists have made a critical contribution to our national security. On behalf of ESGR and the DOD, I want to thank each of the 2013 finalists for their extraordinary support.”

A national selection board of senior defense department officials, business leaders and prior awardees will select 15 Freedom Award recipients, which will be announced early this summer. The 2013 recipients will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26. Past recipients of the Freedom Award have met privately with the president and vice president, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The finalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award are:

Employer

Location

Albuquerque Fire Department, City of Albuquerque

Albuquerque, N.M.

ASAS/Tysol, Inc.

Woodbury, Minn.

Bank of America

Charlotte, N.C.

C.W. Driver

Pasadena, Calif.

Cardinal Health

Dublin, Ohio

Centerline Mechanical LLC

Cave Creek, Ariz.

Charles Crafts, Attorney At Law

Boise, Idaho

City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio

City of Prescott

Prescott, Ariz.

City of Shawnee

Shawnee, Kan.

Colorado Springs Utilities

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Compuware Corp.

Detroit, Mich.

Cranston Public Schools

Cranston, R.I.

DaVita, Inc

Denver, Colo.

Eastman Chemical

Kingsport, Tenn.

Express Scripts

St. Louis, Mo.

Family Allergy & Asthma

Louisville, Ky.

Hubcap Express

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Humana

Louisville, Ky.

JG Management Systems, Inc

Grand Junction, Colo.

Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles, Calif.

Pape-Dawson Engineers

San Antonio, Texas

Prairie Grove Consolidated School District 46

Crystal Lake, Ill.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department

Columbia, S.C.

Safeway, Inc

Pleasanton, Calif.

Steel Plate Fabricators

Knoxville, Tenn.

U.S. Bank

Minneapolis, Minn.

U.S. Marshals Service, Eastern District of Louisiana

New Orleans, La.

Waste Management

Houston, Texas

Zions Bank

Salt Lake City, Utah

About ESGR and the Freedom Award:

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award. ESGR 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 encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

For more information about the Freedom Award, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.

For more information about Colorado’s ESGR program, contact Brent Hamilton at 720-250-1176.

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5/21/2013