WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense honored 15 employers Thursday for their efforts to assist workers serving in the National Guard.

The Defense Employer Support Freedom Awards, presented by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, is designed to highlight public agencies and private companies whose policies go beyond what federal laws mandate. Defense officials have presented the awards every year since 1998.

This year’s recipient companies were:

AgCountry Farm Credit Services of Fargo, N.D.Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America of Minneapolis.Baptist Health of Little Rock, Ark.BNSF Railway Company of Fort Worth, Texas.Cardi’s Furniture Superstores of Swansea, Mass.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.Computer Sciences Corporation of El Segundo, Calif.DuPont of Wilmington, Del.Fred Fletemeyer Company of Colorado Springs, Colo.MGM Mirage of Las Vegas.Skyline Membership Corporation of West Jefferson, N.C.The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.Starbucks Corporation of Seattle.The state of Vermont.The Sun Valley General Improvement District in Nevada.At a ceremony Thursday, Bob Hollingsworth, executive director of the committee, praised the employers for their support and generosity towards guardsmen.

“By going above and beyond what is required by law, these firms set a high standard for all of America’s private and public employers,” he said.

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