From the Washoe County School District:

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today that the Washoe County School District (WCSD) of Reno, Nevada, is one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. This year’s recipients were selected from 2,864 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists for going far beyond what the federal law requires to support their military employees.

"I'm honored to announce the recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "Guardsmen and Reservists across the nation rely on strong bonds with their civilian employers. By recognizing these 15 exceptional employers, the Department of Defense celebrates the contributions made by American employers to our Citizen Warriors. I commend these extraordinary employers for their unwavering commitment to service members and their families."

“The Washoe County School District is proud to receive this national recognition from the Secretary of Defense,” said Kristen McNeill, chief of staff for the Washoe County School District. “Our colleagues who simultaneously serve our children and our country are an important and valued part of our team. We are grateful for their contributions to the Washoe County School District and to our nation.”

WCSD was nominated by Air National Guard Col. David Clark from the 152nd Airlift Wing. The school district supports service members by sending emails and care packages during deployments and publicly recognizes Guardsmen and Reserve members at school board meetings. Teachers volunteer their own time to help children and spouses while their loved ones are deployed, including babysitting, housecleaning, and running errands. Colonel Clark also praised the school for the support they showed after a fellow Guardsman and teacher in Washoe County was killed defending students during a shooting at Sparks Middle School last year.

The 2014 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon Sept. 26:

(Employer, Location)

Arizona Public Service Phoenix, Arizona

AT&T Dallas, Texas

Capital One McLean, Virginia

CH2M-WG Idaho Idaho Falls, Idaho

General Mills, Inc. Golden Valley, Minnesota

J.G. Management Systems, Inc. Grand Junction, Colorado

Los Angeles Fire Department Los Angeles, California

N.H. Department of Environmental Services Concord, New Hampshire

PNC Bank Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Shofner Vision Center Nashville, Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis, Tennessee

Triumph Pharmaceuticals Inc. St. Louis, Missouri

UNC Health Care Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Washoe County School District Reno, Nevada

Zions Bank Salt Lake City, Utah

For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit under the Media Tab in the Press Releases section.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award. To learn more about ESGR, visit

From the Washoe County School District