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Under Secretary of Defense, Chief Financial Officer Robert Hale, left, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Dennis McCarthy, right, present the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to Chancellor Steve Ballard on Sept. 23 in Washington D.C.
Department of Defense honors ECU with Freedom Award
(Sept. 24, 2010)
— East Carolina University was honored by the Department of Defense with the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award on Sept. 23 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. The highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve, ECU was one of 15 employers nationwide to receive this year’s Freedom Award at a ceremony attended by members of Congress, senior military officials and business industry leaders.
For video of East Carolina University receiving the 2010 Freedom Award, visit
and videos can be found under the media tab.
Before the ceremony, Dr. Steve Ballard, chancellor of ECU, and the other Freedom Award recipients met with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and were thanked for superior support of the nation’s citizen soldiers. Almost 2,500 nominations for the award were submitted by National Guard and Reserve service members or their families from across the nation.
Nominated by the university’s director of general surgery residency, ECU is the third-largest university in North Carolina with more than 27,000 students. Named a “2010 Military-Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine, ECU maintains an office at Fort Bragg to educate service members about academic programs available to enrich their careers and service experience.
ECU employees also support their fellow deployed co-workers by sending care packages and checking in on the families left behind during deployments. To further support their military students and employees, ECU has established “Essential Life Skills for Military Families (ELSMF),” a series of one-day workshops that equip Guard and Reserve service members and their families with family–readiness tools to use during deployment. ECU has received several Patriot Awards and the ESGR Pro Patria Award.
Almost one-half of the total U.S. military strength serves in the National 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 National Guard and Reserve.
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About the Award
The Freedom Award is a Secretary of Defense award that was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. Previous recipients include American Express, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Sears, Home Depot, Microsoft, and the State of Tennessee. For more information, please visit
ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 whose mission is to develop and promote employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and service members. For more information, please visit
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