The deadline for nominations for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is today (January 16th). The Freedom Award is the Defense Department’s highest recognition for civilian employers supporting Guard and Reserve members. All employers, no matter the size, are eligible to receive the honor.

Iowa E.S.G.R. chair, Dick Rue, encourages military members who feel strongly about their employer to nominate them for the Freedom Award.

“They should elaborate on the types of things that the employer has done,” Rue explains. “That may be anything from they pay me a wage differential, they didn’t make me use my vacation time, to things like, they supported my family, they initiated an effort to make sure my lawn was mowed when I was deployed or my snow was removed.”

Rue says the efforts by employers include a variety of things that are sort of indirect support methods employers use to support military members. “And sometimes it’s simply the coworkers in the department ….we recognize the employer because the employer has set the tone at the place of business to encourage the support for our service members.”

Rue says there are three categories of recipient: small business, large business, and other, which includes non-profits and government agencies. Guard and Reserve members, or a family member acting on their behalf, may nominate their employers at the website:

By Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake