Thursday, August 25, 2016

Idaho State Police to Receive Secretary of Defense's Freedom Award During Pentagon Ceremony on Friday

Teresa Baker
Public Information Officer
700 S. Stratford Dr., Meridian 83642
(208) 884-7122
Fax (208) 884-7087

For Immediate Release: 8/25/16 at 1:40 p.m.

MERIDIAN - The Idaho State Police has been named a recipient of the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the nation?s highest honor given to employers for exemplary support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

The Idaho State Police is one of 15 employers from the private and public sector across the United States selected from 2,424 nominations submitted by members of the National Guard and Reserve. The Idaho State Police was nominated by three of its employees who are also proud Service members.

Idaho State Police Colonel Ralph Powell will accept the award from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Friday, August 26th.

"It is with humility and a profound sense of esprit-de corps that the Idaho State Police accept this honor," said Col. Powell. "This is not an award for the Idaho State Police as an agency, but rather an award for the Idaho State Police as a family. Our employees are who make it possible for Service members to serve. They do this by taking on the extra work during deployments and routine training missions and by going the extra mile to ensure that service members' families are taken care of as well, making it less of a hardship to serve."

Leading up to this award selection, ISP has been awarded the following awards from the ESGR since 2011:

Nine Patriot Awards - In recognition of individual supervisors for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

The Above and Beyond Award - In recognition of employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.

The Seven Seals Award - In recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission, to include the efforts of the more than 4,500 volunteers who carry out ESGR's mission across the Nation on a daily basis.

The Pro Patria Award - Recipients have demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve. This is the highest level award that may be bestowed by an ESGR State Committee.

President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring August 21 - 27, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. The week recognizes the important contributions employers have made in supporting the military service of their National Guard and Reserve employees.

Emphasizing the critical support employers provide, the President Obama stated, "We must never waiver in our commitment to fight for those who have fought for us, and we must continue striving to connect each of them with opportunities to keep their families strong and our country competitive. This week, we recognize the important role played by the families, employers, and communities of these men and women in ensuring they can step forward and serve our country when they are needed most."

The Presidential Proclamation may be viewed via this link:

Friday's ceremony will be broadcast live on the web from 7:55 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. Mountain Time at The URL will not be active until shortly before the ceremony begins.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR and is the Department of Defense's highest honor for employer support of National Guard and Reserve employees. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award.

For more information on the 2016 Freedom Award program, visit For more information on ESGR, visit