By Kristine Meggenberg
Special to The Sun
Three Edmond National Guard and Reserve soldiers wanted to show their appreciation to their employer by nominating them for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award.
The Music Group at 41 N.W. 144th Circle, Thomas Home Remodeling at 6262 N. Air Depot Road and the Edmond Postal Service have all been nominated for the 2013 award for being supportive and flexible employers to the men and women who serve our country.
Nomination season for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award was Nov. 1 through the middle of January. Any Guard or Reserve service member can nominate their employer. If a service member does not have access to submit a nomination, a family member can nominate the service member’s employer on their behalf.
The Music Group has been very flexible with its National Guard employees, allowing them to take off work frequently and last minute so they are able to accomplish their responsibilities as a soldier.
“We are honored to be nominated for this award,” said Chris Freels, owner of The Music Group. “Great honor that he would think that highly of us.”
Small, large and public employers can be nominated. The employer must be the service member’s current employer. Companies that have been nominated have helped soldiers in a variety of ways such as providing free child care while they were deployed, taken care of lawn maintenance while they are away, checked-up on spouse and family members and performed home repairs in a time of crisis during the soldier’s absence.
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at 6800 N. Kelly Ave. is where nominations for this award are submitted. The ESGR wants to foster a culture that all employers support and value the employment of military service members.
“Our nation has relied heavily on Guard and Reserve service members since entering continuous operations more than a decade ago. Employer support enhances retention rates in the Armed Forces and in the end, strengthens our national security,” said Kenneth Moore, program support technician for Oklahoma Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
After a nomination is submitted, it goes to a review committee in Oklahoma. Once the nomination period closes in January, the state will select semifinalists to move forward. A review board at head quarters of ESGR in Virginia, a Department of Defense agency, considers all semi-finalists for selection to the next round, which is the finalist. The group of finalists goes before a National Selection Board comprised of senior Department of Defense officials, representatives from each of the seven Reserve Components, employer associations and past recipients of the Freedom Award. This selection committee makes recommendations for up to 15 recipients to the Secretary of Defense for final approval. Semi-finalists are announced in early spring, and recipients are finalized by early summer. The annual award ceremony is each September.
The ESGR is a volunteer centric organization. The Oklahoma Committee consisted of 54 volunteers and four full-time support staff. For more information visit www.esgr.mil or call 475-1542.