City of Hickory Fire Department recognized for two prestigious awards | Community Spirit
The City of Hickory Fire Department was recognized for two prestigius awards, the "Pro Patria Award" and the "Freedom Award".
“We are proud of these awards and are especially proud of the men and women who protect our freedom,” said Hickory Fire Chief Tom Alexander.
The "Pro Patria Award" is presented annually by each Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee to the one employer in their state or territory who has provided the most exceptional support of national defense through leadership practices and personnel policies that support their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. It is the state’s highest award.
The City of Hickory was chosen from across the state of North Carolina as the best supporter in the Public Sector category. From that award, they were then submitted to represent North Carolina for the national award in September.
The City of Hickory was chosen as one of the top 10% of employers who hire Guardsmen and Reservist in North Carolina.
The selection was based on information supplied by Hickory Senior Firefighter Patrick Auton, who served in Iraq in 2010 for four months and he also served in 2004 for one year and two weeks.
“I nominated the City of Hickory because of their support during training and my deployment in 2010 to Kirkuk, Iraq. My coworkers sent me care packages and checked on my family constantly. The City even continued my benefits for six months while I was deployed. The City also continues to support other coworkers and their family members by sending care packages and recognizing family members in various City newsletters,” Auton said.
Additionally, the City’s Fire Department was among 108 North Carolina Guard and Reserve members nominated by their employees for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, announced by ESGR, a Department of Defense agency. The agency received 3,236 nominations nationwide.
The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest recognition for employers supporting members of the Guard and Reserve.
Guard and Reserve members, who stand ready to serve whenever our Nation needs them, appreciate their supportive employers, who enable them to continue to serve our country. Because these men and women sometimes have to put their lives on hold to answer the call to duty, these employers provide some peace of mind and a sense of stability to the families and the Guard and Reserve members.
"Guardsmen and Reservists continue to receive outstanding support from their employers," said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. "America's employers have not wavered in their commitment to these Citizen Warriors."
Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the Guard and Reserve, and while most employers proudly support their military employees, “Freedom Award” recipients go above and beyond what is required by law.
Last year’s recipients were nominated for superior acts of support including driving a deployed employee’s children to school, replacing a military employee’s broken family refrigerator while he was serving abroad, and working overtime to cover a service member’s shifts so he could take part in military training.
A list of nominations and finalists from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia are available at www.FreedomAward.mil.
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