2900 Applicants for National Recognition – Richland County Sheriff (1 of 15) Receives Department of Defense Highest Recognition
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today that Richland County Sheriff’s Department is one of 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. These employers distinguished themselves among the 2,899 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists. The 2013 recipients were honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2013.
"I commend and thank the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support to our Citizen Warriors," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "So many of our Nation’s employers are finding ways to contribute to our Nation’s security, but these employers stand out for their commitment to our Guardsmen and Reservists. They have the gratitude and thanks of the entire Department of Defense.”
Richland County Sheriff’s Department was nominated by Master Sergeant Danny Brown member of the Army Reserve, and Sergeant First Class with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department who reported the Richland County Sheriff’s Department ensures deployed service members and their families are contacted every month by a regional leader and a Sheriff’s Chaplain, and deputies regularly visit families’ homes to provide assistance. The Sheriff’s Department found part-time work in the office for the nominator’s spouse when she was laid off during his deployment. They also held a promoted position open for the nominator until he returned from his deployment.
Sheriff Leon Lott created specific procedures for caring for deployed employees and their families. The Sheriff stated that deputies who also serve in the armed forces sacrifice themselves and their families to protect us at home and abroad – they are the ones who deserve recognition. The Sheriff added that his passion is that we will care for our deputies and their families who have given their lives, like Deputy Ryan Rawl. We will always care for his parents and children; making sure his memory is never lost.
President Barack Obama stated, “This week, we honor members of the National Guard and Reserve who carry that legacy forward,” “We thank the employers who support them; and we reaffirm our promise to provide our troops, our veterans, and our military families with the opportunities they have earned.”
The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest honor for employer support of National Guard and Reserve employees. The 2013 award recipients represent large and small businesses, as well as public sector agencies. They have distinguished themselves from a field of nearly 2,900 nominations submitted by Reserve Component Service members. These employers have gone above and beyond their legal obligations to military employees, offering formal and informal initiatives that ensure service members and their families are taken care of throughout all types of military service. The recipients’ measures of support included creating special hiring programs, providing personal support to families such as home maintenance, and continuing full benefits, salary, and additional paid leave options during deployment.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department is built on the cornerstone of a rich and proud law enforcement tradition that spans over 200 years. The Department currently employs over 600 uniformed officers and 140 non-sworn personnel, making it one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the State. It is the mission of the Richland County Sheriff's Department to improve the quality of life for ALL citizens. Through passion and commitment we will maintain a high standard of professional accountability and will reduce the fear of crime and the fear of retaliation by the criminal element.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), is a Department of Defense office established in 1972, develops and maintains 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. On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, ESGR runs the annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award program. Created in 1996, the Freedom Award has been presented to 175 employers since its inception.
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