DoD Selects Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P. as Finalist for 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

RALEIGH, N.C. – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, announced Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P. of Raleigh, N.C. as a finalist for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. A review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selected 30 finalists from the 3,236 nominations received earlier this year from Guard and Reserve service members, or family members acting on their behalf.

Only 160 employers have received the Freedom Award since it was established in 1996. Employers named as finalists for the award distinguish themselves not only for adhering to the employment and reemployment rights of Guard and Reserve members, but for actively creating opportunities to assist and support the service of both Guard and Reserve employees and their families. Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan LLC hired the Army Reservist nominator because they recognized the utility of his military leadership skills. The firm provides exceptional support to the military community by sponsoring both the USO Gala and “Salute to the Heroes” program, which helped to raise $200,000 for the North Carolina USO.

“The 2012 Freedom Award finalists demonstrate that outstanding support of Guard and Reserve members is not limited by an employer’s size, industry or region of the nation. These 30 finalists span the diversity of America’s workforce and prove every employer can go above and beyond for our Citizen Warriors,” said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz.

The DoD will announce the 15 recipients of the 2012 Freedom Award early this summer following completion of a national selection board comprised of senior DoD officials, business leaders and prior awardees. The 2012 recipients will be honored with the 17th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in Washington, D.C. in September. Past recipients of the Freedom Award have met privately with the President and Vice President of the United States, and the Secretary of Defense.

About ESGR and the Freedom Award

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 160 employers have been honored with the award. Established as a DoD agency 40 years ago, ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, please visit or contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571-372-0705 or by email at

About Smith Anderson

Since its inception in 1912, Smith Anderson has grown to become the largest Triangle-based law firm and one of the largest law firms in North Carolina. For the past 100 years, Smith Anderson has fully engaged and supported our servicemen and servicewomen. Our lawyers and staff (today totaling 208) have supported the military for every major conflict from World War I to today. The firm’s vibrant support of its deployed personnel and families and to the nation’s military throughout the American Century is stamped in its ethos.

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