American Water, the Camden-based water and wastewater utility, was one of 15 companies nationwide to be awarded the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
The Freedom Award, begun in 1996, is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to companies for their support of their National Guard and Reserve employees. The award is presented by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Program. More than 2,600 companies nationwide were nominated by their workers serving in the Guard or Reserve.
“American Water is honored to be recognized by the Department of Defense for the Employer Support Freedom Award,” American Water CEO and President Walter Lynch — a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy — said in a prepared statement. “There is no greater honor than serving our great country and supporting the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country.
“We are proud and privileged to have them on our team, as we continue to keep life flowing, by providing essential services to nearly 15 million Americans, including active military personnel living and working on 16 military installations across the country.”
American Water is the first publicly traded water and wastewater services company to receive the Freedom Award. As the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent the traditional ceremony at the Pentagon, the award will be presented to the company at a future ceremony at its Camden headquarters.
“I am proud to recognize these 15 outstanding civilian employers,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in a statement. “The citizen warriors of the National Guard and Reserve have evolved from a strategic reserve to become an integral component of the operational force. Having employers who support their military service is critical to their success and the success of our national defense strategy.
“We salute these exemplary employers for their steadfast commitment to their Guard and Reserve employees, their patriotism and their contributions to the defense and security of our great nation.”
The other companies receiving this year’s award were:
- Accenture LLP, New York;
- Battlefield Vegas, Las Vegas;
- CACI International Inc., Arlington, Virginia;
- Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska;
- City of Prescott Fire Department, Prescott, Arizona;
- Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota;
- Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., McLean, Virginia;
- Lexmark International Inc., Lexington, Kentucky;
- Qualcomm Inc., San Diego;
- Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, South Dakota;
- Shell Oil Co., Houston;
- The Independence Fund, Charlotte, North Carolina;
- Veterans United Home Loans, Columbia, Missouri;
- Worcester Police Department, Worcester, Massachusetts.