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ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, has singled out 15 employers across the United States to receive the 2006 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Secretary of Defense William Perry established the award in 1996 to publicly recognize employers for their exceptional support to employees who are also members of the military’s Reserve components, according to a Wednesday news release announcing the award.

“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,” Bob Hollingsworth, ESGR’s executive director, said in the release.

Candidates for the award are nominated by their Guard and Reserve employees, the release said.

The employers will receive their awards at a ceremony Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C.

The companies receiving the award are:

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