Knoxville metal shop Steel Plate Fabricators is one of 15 employers nationwide to win the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the defense department announced. Eastman Chemical, a Kingsport, Tenn.-based maker of specialty chemicals, also won this year’s award.
The award is the highest civilian recognition presented by the defense department and is given to employers who demonstrate exceptional support for employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
“I am very humbled by it. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed,” Steel Plate President Mike Russell said Wednesday. It’s quite an honor and we’re proud to have won the award. We have a great team here.”
Nine East Tennessee employers have been nominated for the Department of Defense 2013 Freedom Award. The award is the department’s highest recognition presented annually to employers for their support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Statewide, 39 employers were nominated for the award by their employees, according to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency. Nationally, 2,899 employers were nominated for the award. East Tennessee nominees include Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville; Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Alcoa; Chattanooga Police Department; Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga; Physicians Care, Chattanooga: Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin; Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport; Tennessee State Parks, Maryville; and Kysor Panel Systems, Piney Flats.
Nominations for the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the Department of Defense’s highest award for civilian employers, are now being accepted.
As of Nov. 1, more than 1,700 Guard and Reserve members had submitted nominations, including 38 nominations from Tennessee service members, according to news release from Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, a defense department agency.
Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 16. Nominations may be made by service members or a family member acting on their behalf.
Ninety-seven Tennessee Guard and Reserve service members have nominated their employers for the 2011 Freedom Award, the Department of Defense award given annually to employers that show “exceptional support” to employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve.
Tennessee companies nominated include four in Knoxville — Argo Turboserve Corp., Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Tennessee Valley Authority, and TVA Police — and five in Oak Ridge — Bechtel Jacobs Co. LLC, Information International Associates Inc., Oak Ridge National Lab/UT-Battelle, Parkway Cardiology Associates and WSI Oak Ridge.