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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU receives Freedom Award Nomination

New Mexico State University is one of three New Mexico employers that has been selected as a semi-finalist for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The award is considered to be the U.S. government's highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. The university's commitment to various programs and its employees has gained them this nomination.

Area Chair for the Southwestern New Mexico Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Local Committee Leonard Boulas says the university has exhibited outstanding support towards its Guard and Reserve employees.

"The university's Human Resources Policies are in compliance with and go beyond the requirements of the Uniformed Service Employment-Re Employment Rights Act. When issues have arisen in regard to the law, they have dealt with them in an efficient and expeditious manner always taking into consideration the best interests of the military service member," Boulas said.

Boulas also said the university has gone beyond the requirements of the law by setting in place procedures and programs to allow employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve to meet their military requirements without fear of losing their civilian jobs or being penalized for their military service. The university maintains communication with employees and their families when these employees are deployed on active duty missions.

He noted that NMSU has worked with the many members of the National Guard and Reserve who are students, allowing them flexibility in their course work so that they could take part in unit mobilizations for Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as respond to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

NMSU also participates in community outreach, supporting and promoting the activities of the local ESGR Area Committee with other employers in the community. This includes participation in annual ESGR/USERRA program workshops, employer orientation visits to military units, and various employer lunches and banquets.

"Beyond all of these activities is their support as a key community leader to the entire military community not only to the members of the Ready Reserve (National Guard and Reserve), but also to the active and retired military community in the local area," Boulas said.

NMSU is a member of the Military Affairs Committee of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Conference. The university has hosted the Local Area Community Military Covenant Signing Ceremony at half time of an NMSU football game. The university is a supporter of the local Honor Flight Program, and honors the American flag at all sporting events. NMSU has participated in patriotic parades in the local area, including welcome home parades and ceremonies that honor those local members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve when they return home from overseas deployments.

NMSU is among 131 semi-finalists from across the nation selected from more than 3,200 nominations submitted. In June, a review board will select 35 finalists for the award and in July a national selection board comprised of senior defense officials and business leaders will select the award's 15 recipients for 2009.

NMSU has already received various ESGR lower level awards that include, the Above and Beyond Award and the Pro Patria Award.