Denver, Colo. (7/18/2009) - Every year Service Members from the National Guard and Reserve nominate their civilian employers for recognition from Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for going above and beyond the legal requirements in supporting them while on military duty. On July 18, Colorado ESGR held its annual Awards Banquet and recognized top employers throughout the state for their support of their employees in the National Guard and Reserve.

Reservists and National Guardsmen play an increasingly large role in the nation's defense. The Global War on Terrorism required the largest deployment of Citizen Soldiers since World War II. Currently, almost half of the nation's military strength comes from the National Guard and Reserve. Guardsmen have additional responsibilities to the state and community. As a result, employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists share these responsibilities and face significant challenges in supporting their employees in the military.

"National Guard and Reserve members are being relied upon like never before. In the same spirit of service, employers and ESGR volunteers have answered the call to support our nation's Service Members," said John Lowrie, Chair of the Colorado Committee for ESGR. "It is important that these employers be recognized for the exceptional support they provide to the Service Members and the nation."

The Department of Defense established ESGR in 1972 to inform and educate employers and Reserve Component members regarding their rights and responsibilities under federal law. ESGR continually strives to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the volunteer military service of their employees.

"Employers also serve this great nation of ours. We cannot operate without the support of our employers and families ... we couldn't ask for a better support than we have in the United States today", said the Adjutant General of Colorado, Major General H. Michael Edwards

Formally recognizing employers for their service is essential and Colorado ESGR presented several levels of employer awards to acknowledge the employer's contributions to the nation's defense. This year, Colorado ESGR presented the Above and Beyond Award to American Innovations, InfoPrint Solutions, and the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections. The highest level employer award Colorado ESGR can offer, the Pro Patria Award, was presented to Berthoud Floor Covering, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and First Data Corporation.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the ESGR National Committee's highest level award award. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 by the National Committee for ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. Previous honorees include American Express, Chrysler, Sears, Home Depot, and the State of Tennessee. This year 61 servicemen from Colorado nominated their employers for this prestigious award. Competing with over 3500 businesses across the country, Overhead Door Company of Colorado Springs, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and First Data were three of the top 35 national finalists for the Freedom Award. Only 15 Freedom Awards are presented annually.

First Data, of Greenwood Village, Colo. was later announced as one of the 15 national winners of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. They will be presented the Freedom Award next month in Washington D.C.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16