Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, announced a significant increase in the number of Guard and Reserve members who nominated their employers for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department's highest recognition given to employers for support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Over the 12-week nomination period that ended in January, 4,049 nominations poured in for a 64 percent increase over last year's total.

The Army National Guard is the most well represented branch among the services, submitting 1,476 nominations. The Army Reserve and Air National Guard follow suit with the second- and third-highest totals, submitting 920 and 560 nominations, respectively.

The 2011 recipients will be announced this summer and honored Sept. 22 in Washington, D.C. at the 16th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony.

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