The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is a top honor, given to companies that display outstanding support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Since the Freedom Award was instituted in 1996, only around 200 employers have been honored with the award. Each year, Guard and Reserve employees and their family members, have the opportunity to nominate their employer for the Employer Support Freedom Award. The fifteen 2018 recipients were selected from more than 2,350 nominations received from members of the Guard and Reserve, highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them.

Ardine Williams, vice president of worldwide people operations and Army veteran, accepted the Freedom Award on behalf of Amazon in an annual ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Tammy Thieman, senior manager in operations human relations and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, nominated Amazon for the award earlier this year.

Tammy, who nominated Amazon for the award, started the Amazon Veteran Technical Apprenticeship program to train veterans and military spouses in technical skills to become solutions architects and cloud support associates. Earlier this month, the first cohort of Amazon Veteran Technical Apprentices graduated and became full-time cloud support associates. They were the first of more than 150 veteran apprentices that Amazon is training in the U.S. Through her work with veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve, she realized the impact Amazon is making for the community.

“I’m joined by Amazonians who have served their country, continue to serve their country, and those that are building programs to employ this community – thank you for the work you do,” said Ardine Williams at the award ceremony. “We are extremely proud of the culture we’ve created where reservists can do great work at Amazon while taking time to serve our country.”

We proudly share this award with National Guard and Reserve service members across Amazon, who make our company a great place to work because of their dedication.