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2 Colo. employers among 15 to receive nation’s highest honor for supporting Guard and Reserve employees 
By Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Public Affairs 
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs

Brent Hamilton, Colorado ESGR

ARLINGTON, Va. (6/25/13) –­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office, announced today that two Colorado employers are among 15 recipients nationwide of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Colorado Springs Utilities of Colorado Springs, Colo., earned the award in the public sector category, and DaVita Inc., of Denver, earned the award in the large business category.

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

These employers distinguished themselves among the 2,899 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists.

The 2013 recipients will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 26.

"I commend and thank the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support to our Citizen Warriors," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "So many of our nation’s employers are finding ways to contribute to our nation’s security, but these employers stand out for their commitment to our Guardsmen and Reservists. They have the gratitude and thanks of the entire Department of Defense.”

Colorado Springs Utilities was nominated by a member of the Navy Reserve. The nominator stated that Colorado Springs Utilities supports its National Guard and Reserve service members by hosting workshops about employment opportunities and applying military skills to the civilian workforce. Of the company’s 1,800 employees, 360 are veterans and 80 are members of the National Guard and Reserve. The nominator reported Colorado Springs Utilities once held a position open for 10 months to allow a deployed service member to interview for it upon his return.

DaVita, Inc., was nominated by a member of the Air Force Reserve. The nominator stated that DaVita, Inc., supports its National Guard and Reserve service members by actively recruiting more than 1,020 veterans through a company volunteer group, the Village Veterans. Published in 2012, DaVita’s Operation Homefront Charter identifies additional resources and special benefits for its Guard and Reserve employees – before, during, and after deployment – including four weeks of transition time. DaVita, Inc. distributes an annual military recruiting newsletter to more than 46,000 employees and partners, highlighting military and veteran employees.

The 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients are:




Albuquerque Fire Department

Albuquerque, N.M.

Bank of America

Charlotte, N.C.


C.W. Driver

Pasadena, Calif.


City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio


Colorado Springs Utilities

Colorado Springs, Colo.


DaVita, Inc.

Denver, Colo.


Eastman Chemical

Kingsport, Tenn.


Family Allergy & Asthma

Louisville, Ky.



Louisville, Ky.


Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc.

San Antonio, Texas


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

Washington, D.C.



Since 1996, only 175 employers have received the Freedom Award. Previous awardees have met the president and vice president of the U.S., the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

About 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. 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 individual employer releases, visit www.FreedomAward.mil under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section. For interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.


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