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NEWS | Dec. 17, 2021

ESGR awards Prudential for veteran employee support

By Sgt. Salvatore Ottaviano 99th Readiness Division

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to Newark-based Prudential Financial, Inc. Nov. 30 during a virtual award ceremony.

The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of employees serving in the military’s reserve component.

“On behalf of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, I want to congratulate Prudential on their selection as a 2021 recipient of the Freedom Award,” said Ron Vogel, ESGR national chair. “Also, on behalf of a grateful nation, I want to thank Prudential for its patriotic support of the military service’s Guard and Reserve service members.”

Since the Freedom Award’s inception 25 years ago, 310 employers have been honored with the prestigious award. It is formally presented at the recipient’s location of choice by ESGR State Committee leadership.

“We are proud to have amongst our ranks, hundreds of servicemen and women, both veterans and active-duty alike, and so many in addition to that of families and loved ones of those who serve,” said Andy Sullivan, executive vice president and head of U.S. Businesses at Prudential Financial Inc.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that promotes cooperation and understanding between reserve-component service members and their civilian employers, and assists in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.

“New Jersey is not only home to a huge variety of Department of Defense facilities, but it it’s also a significant hub of support for our nation’s reserve forces,” said Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, Chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command. “The New Jersey Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve has one of the finest reputations of service.”

Each year, reserve-component employees, or a family member acting on their behalf, have the opportunity to nominate their employer for the Employer Support Freedom Award.

“New Jersey is synonymous with support for the military,” said Daniels. “Thousands of executives, managers and supervisors here, many of them veterans themselves, are crucial to ensuring our service men and women have everything they need to balance and maintain rewarding civilian and military careers.”

The ESGR State Committees review nominations and submit recommendations to advance to the next round in each of the three categories: Small Employer, Large Employer, and Public Sector. A national selection board comprised of senior Department of Defense officials, business leaders and prior awardees selects up to 15 employers to receive the Secretary’s award.

“This award will be proudly displayed as a symbol of their duty, their honor and their commitment to our country in our headquarters facility in Newark, New Jersey,” said Sullivan. “As a veteran myself, I am grateful to be a part of a company that invests in and is highly, highly committed to those who serve and to the military community more broadly.”

As part of the annual recognition, the president also signs a proclamation for "National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week," highlighting the sacrifices of the nation’s reserve-component service members and their families, and the outstanding support they receive from employers.

“Every year, there are thousands of nominations that come in from service members in the reserve component to identify employers,” said Vogel. “At the end of the day, the best of the best are selected down to 15 employers and that places any organization in very rarified air to be among that selected group.”

You can nominate your employer for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by completing this form: https://esgr.csd.disa.mil/FAN/PublicNomination