Pleasanton, Calif. - Safeway was selected to receive the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the nation's highest honor given to employers for exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve employees.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an office of the Department of Defense, announced the 15 award recipients on Tuesday.
Safeway was the only retailer to be honored with the Freedom Award. The recipients, who were chosen from a pool of nearly 3,000 nominated private and public sector employers, were selected for their demonstrated programs, policies and achievements in support and hiring members of the National Guard and Reserve.
"I commend and thank the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support to our Citizen Warriors," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "So many of our nation's employers are finding ways to contribute to our nation's security, but these employers stand out for their commitment to our guardsmen and reservists. They have the gratitude and thanks of the entire Department of Defense."
Safeway was among the first employers to commit more than 10 years ago to cover the pay differential and extend full benefits to employees in the Reserve and National Guard called to active duty. In 2012, Safeway hired nearly 1,500 veterans, with more than 1,300 of them hired into the company's retail stores. Safeway also has committed to hiring at least another 1,500 veterans by the end of 2013.