News Releases

Jul 31, 2014

Department of Defense recognizes General Mills


Receives 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Today, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, recognized General Mills as one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.

“We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the Department of Defense as a 2014 Freedom Award recipient,” said Ken Charles, vice president of global inclusion and staffing for General Mills. “We truly believe that we can strengthen our company and community by attracting and retaining talented veterans and the valuable skills and experiences they offer. And we’re proud to support our employees who are actively serving our country.

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. 

"I'm honored to announce the recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "Guardsmen and Reservists across the nation rely on strong bonds with their civilian employers. By recognizing these 15 exceptional employers, the Department of Defense celebrates the contributions made by American employers to our Citizen Warriors. I commend these extraordinary employers for their unwavering commitment to service members and their families."

General Mills was nominated by Army National Guard Capt. Joel Stamp from the 224th Transportation Company, 347th Regional Support Group. The company hosts monthly networking luncheons, annual leadership events and Veterans Day celebrations to recognize and support the career development of military members. General Mills sends care packages to deployed service members through its Veterans Club and has developed a family support group to work with spouses and loved ones. The company has also prioritized service member hiring as part of its corporate recruitment strategy, increasing the number of veteran hires and offering a special veterans career website. 

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award. 2014 Freedom Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon Sept. 26. 

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About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.