Secretary of Defense Freedom Award

Nominations will open October 1 for the annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, sponsored by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The Freedom Award is the highest award that can be bestowed on an employer and the Secretary of Defense will personally present the award in a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Nominations for the Freedom Award must come from a National Guard or Reserve service member or their family members employed by the organization they are nominating. Service members can nominate large and small employers from a broad cross-section of America, including health, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, banking, service, and security, as well as from federal, state and local government agencies.

Fifteen Freedom Awards are presented each year in three categories: companies of more than 500 employees, companies below 500 employees, and government agencies. Competition is tough, so nominations must be comprehensive, factual and compelling

To nominate an employer for the Freedom Award, go to When writing the award, employees may ask for assistance from their employer to help and provide information about benefits and ways the organization has gone above and beyond for them and other Soldiers and Airmen they work with.

If an employer has been previously nominated for the Freedom Award and they were semifinalist or finalist, ESGR recommends the employer be nominated again. Many recipients of the Freedom Award receive the award on their second or third nomination.

Nominations for the Freedom Award will close December 31.

If an employer is not at the level of a Freedom Award, a supervisor or leader in the company may be nominated for a Patriot Award. To nominate them go to, select the awards tab and fill out the simple form. When the award is approved, an ESGR volunteer will coordinate a time and place to present the award.

For more information about the Freedom Award or Patriot Award contact Paul Swanson at 785-646-0188 or Walt Frederick at 785-250-2685.