DOD honors top employer of 419th reservists

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel presented one of the 419th Fighter Wing’s top employers with the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon Sept. 26. Zions Bank was one of 15 recipients of the award, which is presented by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office.

Senior Airman Alison Putnam, a reservist in the wing’s 67th Aerial Port Squadron, nominated her employer for the Freedom Award, the DOD’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.

“More employers need to follow the example of Zions First National Bank, whose president and CEO personally calls everyone who is called up for active duty,” Hagel told an audience of several hundred during his keynote address at the ceremony.

Zions Bank pioneered a professional development program offering internships and training specifically to service members and veterans, which has launched civilian careers throughout the Intermountain West. The Zions Bank Military Relations Group maintains contact with deployed employees and their families, providing home repairs, lawn maintenance, holiday gifts, and financial assistance. The bank also launched a military employee forum to facilitate networking opportunities for service members.

“It’s an honor to be nominated by our employees,” said Brian Garrett, who manages Zions Bank’s Military Relations Program. “We’re proud to have our program recognized at the national level for the support that we provide for our service members and their families.”

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