BELTON, Texas (FOX 44) – The City of Belton will be recognized at the City Council meeting on Tuesday for its support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The City is receiving a 2022 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Ron Rivers, Chairman of the Central Texas Chapter of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Program (ESGR), will attend the meeting and present the award.

The City of Belton said in a press release on Monday that the Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve members. Since 1996, only 310 honorees have received the award.

This year, Belton was among 30 finalists for the award. Finalists included small and large private and public sector employers – each nominated by a National Guard or Reserve employee within its organization. Belton was nominated by Senior Human Resource Generalist Rebekah Phillips, who is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

“When Rebekah started working in Belton in September 2020, she was impressed with how many employees have current or past commitments to the military,” HR Director Charlotte Walker said.

Belton currently employs 49 veterans, which is 27 percent of its workforce.

ESGR received 2,777 nominations from employers throughout the 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia.