Department of Defense Announces New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services as 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipient
NHDES Among Fifteen to Receive Nation’s Highest Honor for Supporting Guard and Reserve Employees
Concord, NH – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) of Concord, New Hampshire, is one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. This year’s recipients were selected from 2,864 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists for going far beyond what the federal law requires of employers in support of their employees who serve in the military.
NHDES was nominated by Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Steven Couture from C Company, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment. He highlighted the ceremony hosted by his more than 400 colleagues on his last day at work before deployment. While he was on duty, NHDES employees checked in on his wife and family and sent holiday gifts. NHDES also sent numerous care packages to the service member’s unit in Afghanistan, including everything needed for a Yankee Swap during the holidays. NHDES has also hosted pancake breakfasts and events to honor service members. Veterans and service members comprise around 10 percent of the NHDES workforce.
“I was already proud of the NHDES staff for their support of our service members prior to our receiving this recognition, and now I am extremely pleased that the highest levels of the Department of Defense are aware of our unwavering support for our country’s servicemen and servicewomen,” said Tom Burack, NHDES Commissioner. “Helping our colleague, Steve Couture, his family and his unit, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, during their several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan was an honor that NHDES undertook with pride and gratitude.”
(from the ESGR media release) "I'm honored to announce the recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "Guardsmen and Reservists across the nation rely on strong bonds with their civilian employers. By recognizing these 15 exceptional employers, the Department of Defense celebrates the contributions made by American employers to our Citizen Warriors. I commend these extraordinary employers for their unwavering commitment to service members and their families."
The 2014 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon September 26.
For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit www.FreedomAward.mil under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award. To learn more about ESGR, visit www.ESGR.mil.
For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at OSD.ESGR-PA@mail.mil or by phone at 571-372-0705. For more information regarding efforts by NHDES to support Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Steven Couture, also known as the NHDES Coastal Program Manager, and the C Company, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, please contact Jim Martin, NHDES Public Information Officer at 271-3710.