The Chamber was among many grateful guests who attended the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Nominee Recognition Breakfast on Friday, July 1. Guests included previous winners of the Freedom Award, as well as military personnel who serve in the Guard and Reserve. Brigadier General Robert LaBrutta, Commander, Joint Base San Antonio, served as the keynote speaker and shared his sincere appreciation for the employers of San Antonio who support Guard and Reserve service members and families.  

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. The award was created in 1996 under the auspices of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense. Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the Guard and Reserve, and any Guard or Reserve service member can nominate his or her employer.

The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. This award recognizes employers who provide the most outstanding support for their Guard and Reserve employees and is presented annually by the Secretary of Defense.

Established in 1972, ESGR is a Department of Defense office whose mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and resolving conflict between employers and service members. Secretary of Defense William Perry authorized the first award in 1996 and presented it to Schneider National, McDonnell Douglas, United Parcel Service Central Florida District, Tektronix, Inc. and National Life of Vermont. In the years since, a total of 205 employers have received this prestigious award.

Today, up to 15 awards are presented each year to employers in three categories, large business, small business and the public sector. A national selection board comprised of senior Defense officials and business leaders select the award recipients. The Chamber is proud to have Members who have been nominated and have won this prestigious award in the past: AT&T won in 1998, Southwest Airlines in 2001, USAA in 2005, and Pape Dawson Engineers in 2013.

The 2016 nominees included the Bexar County Sherriff’s Office, Booz Allen Hamilton, USAA, VIA Metropolitan Transit, North Central Baptist Hospital, and Chromalloy to name a few.  The 2017 Nominating season opens October 1st and ends December 31st.

Visit for nomination and previous award winner information.

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