AUBURN – Auburn University was named by the U.S. Department of Defense as one of 148 semifinalists for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition the defense department gives to employers for exceptional support of their employees who serve in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve. Auburn is the only college or university among the semifinalists.
Soren Rodning, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Auburn and a U.S. Army reservist who was deployed to Afghanistan from August 2010 through mid-March with the veterinary service unit of the 358th Medical Detachment, nominated the university for the honor.
Auburn and the 147 other semifinalists were selected from a pool of 4,049 employers nationwide who were nominated for providing Guard and Reserve soldiers the difference between military and civilian salary during deployments, continuation of full benefits, sending care packages to employee/soldiers and supporting the families of deployed employees. On May 17, 30 finalists will be announced, followed by the announcement in June of the 15 Freedom Award recipients.
For more on the Freedom Award, go to http://www.freedomaward.mil/TemplateDetailsView.aspx?TemplateID=551&ModuleID=7.
As a result of a separate nomination Rodning submitted upon his return from Afghanistan, the defense department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization has named Auburn animal sciences department head Wayne Greene a 2011 winner of its Patriot Award.