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MADISON, Wis. — Sixty-nine Wisconsin employers of National Guard and Reserve members have been nominated by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award — commonly referred to as the “Freedom Award.”

The Freedom Award is the highest recognition the Department of Defense can give to employers for their support of National Guard and Reserve members. The National Guard and Reserve make up nearly half of the U.S. military, and most reservists hold civilian jobs. Freedom Award nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member employed by the organization they are nominating, or by a Guard or Reserve family member.

Judging of the 2,960 nominees nationwide will continue through late June. Up to 15 employers will be selected for this year’s award, and honored at an official ceremony this August at the Pentagon.

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 with a mission of gaining and maintaining employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through remediation. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation, and mediation if necessary for employers of Guard and Reserve members.

Wisconsin’s Freedom Award nominees include:

Altoona: Union Pacific Rail Road; Appleton: Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation, Miller Electric Mfg. Co.; Balsam Lake: Polk County Sheriff’s Department; Baraboo: Teel Plastics, Inc.; Beloit: Stainless Tank & Equipment Co., LLC; Brookfield: Goodyear Auto Service Center, Milliman; Brownsville: Michels Corporation; Burlington: Lavelle Industries, Inc.; Cudahy: ATI Ladish Forging; Darlington: Darlington Country Club and Golf Course; DeForest: R&D Engineering and Machining, Inc.; Eau Claire: Indianhead Foodservice Distributor, Inc.; Fond du Lac: Mercury Marine, Division of Brunswick Corporation; Fort McCoy: MWR; Genoa City: Village of Genoa City Police Department; Green Bay: Blaney Funeral Home, Gandrud Auto Group, Innovative Services, Inc., Little Rapids Corporation, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, UnitedHealth Group; Kenosha: Kenosha Public Museum, Snap-on Tools Corporation; La Crosse: Ace Hardware Retail Support Center, City of La Crosse Police Department, Logistics Health Incorporated; Lake Mills: Lake Mills School District; Luck: Wood Goods Industries, Inc; Madison: Blooming Grove Fire Department, Department of Military Affairs, First Weber Group Realtors, State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW Health Organ and Tissue Donation, Wisconsin State Public Defender; Marinette: Waupaca Foundry, Inc; Marshfield: Roehl Transport, Inc.; Milwaukee: Advicent Solutions, Department of Veteran Affairs, Direct Supply, Inc., Messmer High School, Midwest Products and Engineering, Inc.,, Paratech Ambulance Service, Inc., U.S. Postal Service; Mosinee: Arow Global Corporation; Mukwonago: Adelheim Lubricoat North America, LLC; Neenah: John Skotske Concrete Construction, Inc.; New Berlin: FedEx SmartPost; Oconomowoc: John Buittner, DDS, LLC; Onalaska: Empire Screen Printing, Inc; Oshkosh: Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6, Pantry 76 BP; Rhinelander: Expera Specialty Solutions; Rice Lake: Rice Lake Weighing Systems; Saint Francis: Wixon, Inc; Stevens Point: Sentry Insurance; Stoughton: Martin Luther Christian Schools Child Care; Superior: Superior Beverages, LLC; Watertown: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Watertown Police Department; Wausau: Wausau School District; Wauwatosa: Briggs & Stratton, Harley-Davidson Product Development Center; West Bend: Graphix.