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ECU named 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipient

ARLINGTON, VA   (July 8, 2010)   —   The Department of Defense announced July 8 that East Carolina University will receive the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. East Carolina University was selected as one of only 15 employers from across the nation to receive the 2010 Freedom Award.

Almost 2,500 Guard and Reserve members, or their family members, from across the country nominated employers for exceptional support, which included providing full salary, continuation of benefits, care packages and even family support to employees fulfilling their military obligation. On behalf of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a National Selection Board comprised of senior defense officials, business leaders and prior Freedom Award recipients selected the 2010 Freedom Award honorees. The Freedom Award will be presented to East Carolina University during a formal ceremony Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients are:

Bill Bragg Plumbing – San Francisco, Calif.
Dollar General Corporation – Goodlettsville, Tenn.
East Carolina University – Greenville
Food Lion – Salisbury
Franklin’s Printing – Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Hawaii State Government – Honolulu, Hawaii
Intuit – Mountain View, Calif.
Irvine Police Department – Irvine, Calif.
Legacy Sports International – Reno, Nev.
Logistics Health Inc. – La Crosse, Wis.
MERCK and Company Inc. – Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Michigan Department of State Police – Sterling Heights, Mich.
Newmont Mining Corporation – Denver, Colo.
Southern Company – Atlanta, Ga.
Yerecic Label – New Kensington, Penn.

“With 2010 marking the 15th anniversary of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, it gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s recipients,” said James G. Rebholz, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) National Chairman. “East Carolina University and this year’s other recipients are among the top U.S. employers that provide outstanding support for Guard and Reserve employees. Their superior and unselfish initiatives to support their Guard and Reserve employees, make them indispensable partners in the defense efforts of this country. We are truly grateful for their unwavering support.”

Nominated by the University’s director of general surgery residency, East Carolina University, a public college with more than 27,000 students, is the third largest university in North Carolina. 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. East Carolina University has received several Patriot Awards and the ESGR Pro Patria Award.

About ESGR and the Freedom Award
The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). 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. Since 1996, only 130 companies have been presented with the prestigious Freedom Award. For more information, please visit

Department of Defense news release


Contact: Major Melissa Phillips | 703-696-1171 x 535