National guard and reserve employers deserve recognition and support

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In the last year, our military has provided emergency relief following natural disasters at home and abroad while continuing to fight a war. However, less than one percent of our population serves in the military, voluntarily carrying an enormous responsibility for the entire country.  Reservists and Guardsmen bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. Hiring them should become a national call to uphold their legacy of sacrifice and tireless commitment to America’s security. One of the greatest challenges facing our nation right now is unemployment and underemployment, and these related problems are especially severe for those in the Guard and Reserve or for those leaving active military service. The promise of a secure job provides service members and their families with stability and peace of mind. A reliable job also strengthens our national security, as it allows our Citizen Warriors to continue the military service they have selflessly volunteered for.

President Obama poignantly captured what employers have to gain from hiring a veteran when he stated, “If you can oversee millions of dollars in assets in Iraq, you can help a business balance its books here at home.” Our obligations to these men and women who risk their lives daily and shoulder the burdens of defending our great nation cannot diminish. Their success in reintegration is essential on a broad scale. This year’s 15 recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award embody all that is necessary in joining forces to support the men and women of the Guard and Reserve and their families.  Our commitment to Citizen Warriors both past and present, as well as their families, must never waiver.

As our nation congratulates 15 employers who have exhibited an unshakable commitment to members of the Guard and Reserve, I encourage all Americans, particularly our employers, to consider how they may contribute to the support of our Citizen Warriors. Together we all serve.

David L. McGinnis is the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.