BLACKFOOT — Members of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committee for Eastern Idaho honored numerous area businesses on Thursday.
Two of the top honors went to Premier Technology and to the City of Pocatello Police Department. Both received recognition for advancing to the semifinals for the Department of Defense's Freedom Award.
Terry Harrell, the state ESGR chairman, said the two companies were among 4,041 nationwide nominated for the award. Idaho soldiers and ESGR committees nominated 18 businesses. Premier and the Pocatello PD were among 148 which reached the semifinals. Fifteen businesses — five each among small, large and public businesses — received the national honor.
Doug Sayer, Premier's CEO, accepted the award and another called "Above and Beyond" for participation in another project in support of Idaho's citizen soldiers.
Lt. Col. Bill Knight, a Premier employee, nominated his employer. In his nomination letter he wrote, "its military-friendly atmosphere sets the standard for small businesses across the United States." He noted that company personnel have drafted a handbook outlining ways to show support.
"We couldn't do what we do without our employers," noted Brig. Gen. Bill Bankhead. He challenged those in attendance to help the soldiers to find jobs when they return from their deployment to Iraq later this year.
Maj. Gen Gary Sayler, the state's adjutant general, said, "Idaho is truly blessed with community support of our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen." He said he is in awe of the support their employers give them.
Before receiving the award, Sayer said that support only makes sense.
"Our Guard and Reserve right now are defending our country's freedom. This is the only vehicle available to us to support our fight for freedom. Our job is to be there when it's needed, plain and simply because it's the right thing to do," Sayer said.
Several other local employers received different awards for their support of our citizen soldiers. Included in that group were Sheriff Dave Johnson and the Bingham County Sheriff's Office, ON Semiconductor, Home Depot, Power County Emergency Medical Services, SJS Inc., Blackfoot Paint and Glass, Blackfoot Plumbing, the POW-MIA Awareness committee, K&M Refrigeration, Pro Rental, Snake River Sanitation, Solid Rock Construction, Roger Thomas Remodeling and DeWalt Construction.