Saluting employers who include National Guard and Reserve members is the basis for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Each year civilian employers are recognized for this practice and this year out of 2,663 nominations, Sanford Health is among the 15 across the county that were chosen. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense.

According to a press release, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said, “The citizen warriors of the National Guard and Reserve have evolved from a strategic reserve to become an integral component of the operational force. Having employers who support their military service is critical to their success and the success of our National Defense Strategy. We salute these exemplary employers for their steadfast commitment to their Guard and Reserve employees, their patriotism, and their contributions to the defense and security of our great Nation.”

Accenture, LLP New York, New York  Army Reserve, Texas
American Water Works Company, Inc. Camden, New Jersey Army Reserve, New Jersey
Battlefield Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada Army National Guard, Nevada
CACI International Inc Arlington, Virginia Army Reserve, Colorado
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, Nebraska Army Reserve, Nebraska
City of Prescott Fire Department Prescott, Arizona Army National Guard, Arizona
Ecolab Inc. St. Paul, Minnesota Army National Guard, Minnesota
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. McLean, Virginia  Army Reserve, Virginia
Lexmark International Inc. Lexington, Kentucky Army National Guard, South Carolina
Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, California Navy Reserve, California
Sanford Health Sioux Falls, South Dakota Army National Guard, South Dakota
Shell Oil Company Houston, Texas Marine Corps Reserve, Texas
The Independence Fund Charlotte, North Carolina  Marine Corps Reserve, North Carolina
Veterans United Home Loans Columbia, Missouri Air National Guard, Missouri
Worcester Police Department Worcester, Massachusetts Air National Guard, Massachusetts

Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the Guard and Reserve. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. This award recognizes employers who provide the most outstanding support for their Guard and Reserve employees and is presented annually by the Secretary of Defense.

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