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The Department of Defense said last week that Food Lion would receive the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Food Lion is one of just 15 employers from across the United States to earn the honor.
Nearly 2,500 Guard and Reserve members, or their family members, from across the country nominated employers for providing such support during workers’ military deployments as paying full salaries, the continuation of benefits, sending care packages and aiding families. On behalf of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a National Selection Board made up of senior defense officials, business leaders and previous Freedom Award recipients selected the current crop of winners. Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion will receive its Freedom Award during a formal ceremony to be held Thursday, Sept. 23 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
Nominated by a New Bern, N.C., store manager, Food Lion is the only supermarket chain to receive the award this year. The only other retailer to be honored in 2010 is Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General Corp. Food Lion, a past recipient of the Patriot Award, Above and Beyond Award and the ESGR Pro Patria Award, enables employees married to deployed service members to transfer to stores to be closer to family during deployments. Additionally, over the past year, the grocer has donated gift cards, phone cards, nonperishable food and other items to service members.
“Food Lion and this year’s other recipients are among the top U.S. employers that provide outstanding support for Guard and Reserve employees,” noted Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) national chairman James G. Rebholz. “Their superior and unselfish initiatives to support their Guard and Reserve employees make them indispensable partners in the defense efforts of this country.”
2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
A division of Brussels-based Delhaize Group, Food Lion operates more than 1,300 supermarkets under the names of Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys or Reid’s.