RALEIGH, N.C., May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) agency, announced State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) is a finalist for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the DoD's highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. SECU is one of only 30 finalists selected from 4,049 nominations received earlier this year from Guard and Reserve service members or their families.
The Credit Union was nominated by Jamie Applequist, SECU's Senior Vice President in Jacksonville, N.C. and an Air Force Reservist. The finalists were selected from a group of 148 semifinalists announced last month. Employers named as finalists for the Freedom Award stand out for the formal and informal initiatives they put in place for Guard and Reserve employees and their families. The nominator said examples of the culture of military support at State Employees' Credit Union include differential pay and ongoing benefits support, an SECU co-worker who took care of a service member's children for a month and other employees handling chores for a service member involved in a car accident. Additionally, SECU has been very supportive of the N.C. National Guard and other deployed N.C. soldiers, providing 5,000 gift boxes during the past holiday season to soldiers serving abroad and participating in National Guard Yellow Ribbon and Welcome Home events. The SECU Foundation, funded solely by SECU members, supports Guard initiatives as well, including Operation Kids on Guard and educational scholarships.
"Our Nation's employers have provided a high level of ongoing support for their military employees and their families even in the tough economic climate of recent years. These 30 finalists have gone to extraordinary lengths to create a supportive culture within their workplaces allowing our citizen warriors to serve with the confidence that they are most appreciated and that their families are being cared for at home," said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. "Being selected as a finalist is a tremendous achievement and honor that all of us should recognize and applaud."
A national selection board comprised of senior defense officials, business leaders and prior awardees will select 15 recipients for the 2011 Freedom Award. The DoD is expected to announce the award recipients in early summer. The 2011 recipients will be honored in Washington, D.C. at the 16th Annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Ceremony on September 22, 2011.
SECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. SECU has been providing the employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for over 70 years. Currently serving more than 1.6 million members, SECU provides services through 237 branch offices, nearly 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.
About ESGR and the Freedom Award
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. ESGR was established in 1972 to develop and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.
SOURCE State Employees' Credit Union