ATLANTA, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Defense named Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) a 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipient. With more than 3,000 nominations submitted, Delta is one of 15 employers awarded the Department of Defense's highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.
"The Freedom Award is a great honor and even more special because Delta was nominated by a co-worker and Air Force Reservist," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "Supporting the 3,000 Delta people who serve our nation has long been part of our culture and is one of many ways we strive to make Delta a great place to work. Our commitment extends to the millions of servicemen and women who fly with us throughout the year, and to our veterans. Delta will always be there to support you."
Delta supports its people serving in the Guard and Reserve by offering health and welfare benefits, and travel privileges during and upon return from military service.
Delta employees often recognize military service members in uniform by providing First Class/Business Elite upgrades when seats are available, allowing priority boarding, providing complimentary access to the more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs nationwide, and by publicly thanking members of the military onboard. Delta flight attendants have been recognized for sending journals filled with customer messages to men and women stationed overseas, and for sending care baskets. And at more than a dozen U.S. airports, Delta employees administer volunteer honor guards when transporting the remains of military service personnel, complete with flag ceremonies and specially themed patriotic ground equipment.
Delta has pledged to hire more veterans by 2020 as part of its participation in the 100,000 Jobs Mission. As part of this commitment, Delta sponsored the 2011 the Gracie Mansion Veterans Day Breakfast hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the Veterans Day Parade, both held in New York City.
In addition, Delta is a longstanding supporter of military support organizations such as the Fisher House Foundation and United Service Organization, and has donated millions of SkyMiles through the SkyWish program to provide airline travel for families of men and women in uniform.
Since 1996, only 160 employers have received the Freedom Award. Delta is the first airline to receive the Freedom Award in a decade.
The 2012 honorees will be recognized at the 17th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 20, 2012.