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Officials Announce Semifinalists for Freedom Award

ARLINGTON, Va. -- More than 3,000 reserve component service members have nominated 133 of their civilian-life employers as semifinalists for an award that recognizes outstanding support for the citizen soldiers and citizen airmen who work for them.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency, received 3,236 nominations for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the department's highest recognition for employers supporting members of the Guard and Reserve.

Officials will announce up to 15 Freedom Award recipients this summer to be honored Sept. 20 at a ceremony in the nation's capital. Guard and Reserve members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated their civilian employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season.

Guard and Reserve members often put their civilian lives on hold when they answer the call to duty, ESGR officials noted. Supportive employers provide a tremendous amount of stability and peace of mind to citizen warriors and their families, they added, enabling them to continue their service.

"The employers selected as Freedom Award semifinalists have distinguished themselves for their support of their National Guard and Reserve employees, and are truly serving our nation with their extraordinary commitment to these special employees," said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. "Their efforts are to be applauded, and ESGR salutes these patriotic employers for their special care of their Guard and Reserve employees and their families while they serve our nation in times of war and peace."

ESGR will announce the 2012 Freedom Award finalists next month after a review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selects the 30 most supportive employers from among the 133 semifinalists. The 15 award recipients will be honored at the 17th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony.
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