ESGR: Time To Reward The Boss For Great Support Published Nov. 18, 2009 By Capt. Gary Bentley 180th Executive Officer December 2009 -- If you are a traditional Guardsman, and your employer has supported your commitment to the Guard above and beyond what is required by law, please consider nominating them for the Freedom Award. Guard members now can nominate outstanding employers for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award given annually by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The nomination season opened this week and closes Jan. 18, 2010. Nominations can be made at www.FreedomAward.mil In the past, the number of nominations has been in the thousands.The award honors employers who show outstanding support for employees who also serve in the reserve component. Previous recipients have ranged from large corporations to small businesses to towns and cities. Some of them have provided full salary to a deployed employee, assistance to the family during the absence of a loved one or any other efforts that go beyond the norm. The 2010 recipients will be announced in the spring and honored at the 15th annual award ceremony on Sept. 23, 2010, in Washington, D.C. The Freedom Award was started in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize the exceptional support from employers. ESGR is a Defense Department agency established in 1972 to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve members. The agency helps increase awareness of the law and is involved in conflict resolution through mediation.