Nominate your employer for ESGR Freedom Award

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The Employer Support Freedom Award's annual nomination season is open now through Dec. 31. Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve encourages all Arizona Air National Guard members who have supportive employers to consider nominating them for recognition by the Department of Defense.

Army 1st Sergeant John Zagyva's employer lobbied for changes in state law to allow differential pay for deployed Guard and Reserve service members. Tech. Sgt. Daniel Mills' employer participates in Warrior Yoga sessions with his military employees to address PTSD and other service-related issues. Navy Lt. David Nelson's employer refused to sell American and Marine flags to a family gathering to honor their fallen Marine son, and instead donated the flags, poles and flower baskets to the grieving family.

These are stories from just a few of the employers to receive the Department of Defense's highest employer award - the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award - in 2016. Of 2,424 organizations nominated by their Guard and Reserve employees, just 15 became recipients this year.

If your organization goes above and beyond in its support for Guardsmen or Reservists, nominate it for the 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award at

Nominations for the Freedom Award must come from a Guard or Reserve member employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member. Each year, the nominated organizations represent large and small employers from almost every industry, including health, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, banking, service and security, as well as from federal, state and local government agencies.

History of the Freedom Award

· The Freedom Award began in 1996 and is overseen by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
· The award serves to recognize outstanding employers and draw attention to support from the employer community.
· Only 235 employers have received the award.
· More than 14,000 nominations have been received since 2011.

To learn more about ESGR, visit