The Great Falls Rescue Mission is among 3 Montana Employers named semifinalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This Freedom Award is the Department of Defense's highest honor for EMPLOYERS that provide extraordinary support to their Guard & Reserve employees. This year, 138 semifinalists stood out among close to 3000 employers nominated by a Guard or Reserve employee. More than 1 million Americans serve in the National Guard & Reserve, playing a critical role in both combat & humanitarian missions. The Freedom Award provides these service members with an opportunity to recognize civilian EMPLOYERS that go above & beyond in supporting their service. Employers selected as semifinalists, such as the Great Falls Rescue mission, assist Guard & Reserve employees through formal & informal initiatives, including setting veteran hiring goals, establishing military employee liaisons, providing childcare for deployed employees, arranging care package drives, & granting additional leave for military employees & family members before AND AFTER deployments. ESGR's Executive Director Ronald G. Young, says "National Guard & Reserve members show tremendous resolve overseas & during times of domestic crises. Out nation owes a special debt of gratitude to employers, like the Great Falls Rescue Mission, enabling these brave men & women to serve". The Department of military Affairs down at Fort Harrison & HDR Engineering of Billings were also named semifinalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. ESGR will be announcing the 2013 Freedom Award finalists THIS month after a review board comprised of military & civilian leaders selects the 30 most supportive employers. Up to 15 award recipients will be announced early this summer & honored in Washington, D.C. in  September at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony. ESGR...Employer Support Of The Guard & Reserve.