HAMILTON, N.J. -- Brig. Gen. Jose R. Burgos, deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command, was the keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Freedom Award Nominee and Pro Patria Awards luncheon, hosted by the New Jersey Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

"Hiring Soldiers is a win-win -- companies benefit by gaining the skills and experience of our reserve-component Soldiers, while the Army can improve the skill sets and overall readiness of its Soldiers, leaders and units" said Burgos. "The bottom line is that Soldiers make for more productive and effective employees."

Representatives from all branches of the military and law enforcement attended the luncheon.

"Thank you for coming out today and thank you for what you do everyday" said Don Tretola, the organization's state chairman, during his opening remarks.

Dozens of companies were given recognition certificates during the short, mid-day ceremony.

"I congratulate all of you on being nominated for this award, as well as those of you who continue to support our Soldiers day in and day out," said Burgos.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the reserve components through outreach, recognition and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws, and resolves employment conflicts between the service members and their employers.

Service members can nominate their employer by visiting the ESGR website, esgr.mil.