NEWS | Sept. 23, 2021

Broken Arrow business receives 2021 SECDEF Employer Support Freedom Award

By Sgt. 1st Class Mireille Merilice-Roberts, Oklahoma National Guard

Good leaders recognize others. Great leaders appreciate them. This was the case for a local company’s exceptional service to those who serve in uniform.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented Cameron Glass Inc. with the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to recognize their unwavering support for Oklahoma National Guard and Reserve employees at the Broken Arrow Armed Forces Reserve Center, Sept. 21, 2021.

Over 3,000 employers were nominated by Guardsmen and Reservists in 2021. Cameron Glass is one of 15 to receive the prestigious award, the highest recognized award given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of employees who serve.

“There are laws that support Soldiers when they are mobilized,” said Brig. Gen. Tommy Mancino, assistant adjutant general-Army, Oklahoma National Guard. “But those laws are insufficient if we don’t have the backing and support of our employers."

Cameron Glass employee and Oklahoma National Guard member 1st. Lt Chris Ashwood, nominated the company for their exceptional support and accommodations.

Cameron Glass provides military employees with differential pay during an employee’s military service, along with flexible and general leave and scheduling. The company also publicly recognizes individuals who serve by hosting farewell and homecoming celebrations, and continually checks in with service members and their families during deployments.

“I am extremely grateful for all Cameron Glass has done for members and veterans,” Ashwood, commander, Company A, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command, said. “Cameron Glass consistently demonstrates unparalleled support for military members through deployments, state active duty missions and training missions. All levels throughout the company display a sincere respect for the ever increasing demand of serving in the military.”

To recognize employers who support their Guard and Reserve employees, ESGR grants a series of Department of Defense awards: Patriot Award, Spouse Patriot Award, Seven Seals Award, Above and Beyond Award, Pro Patria Award, Extraordinary Employer Support Award, and the highest honor is the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

“You continue to provide to the men and women in uniform," said Ronald Bogle, ESGR national chair. “You are a strong partner for members of the Guard and Reserve for both retention and readiness. To serve this nation when called, much of the ability and capability rests with the support of employers like you.”

To honor and recognize supportive employers across the state of Oklahoma for their patriotism and commitment to their National Guard and Reserve employees, Governor Kevin Stitt proclaimed Aug. 15-21, 2021 as “Oklahoma Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week."

“You’ve been in our city for 43 years,” said Debra Wimpee, mayor of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “You provide jobs and opportunities. I just wanted to thank you, sir [Jim Cameron]. I also want to thank each and every one of you guys that are out there serving and stepping up. More than ever, we need bold and courageous leaders.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award nomination process is open to all National Guard and Reserve personnel or a family member acting on their behalf. The application is submitted online to ESGR, then a national selection board comprised of senior Department of Defense officials and business leaders select the award recipients.