Pioneer Financial Services recognized for outstanding support of Guard and Reserve

Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey and David Janes, chairman of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), presented Pioneer Financial Services, Inc., with the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in a ceremony Oct. 15 in Washington, D.C. Tom Holcom, president of Pioneer Financial Services, Inc., accepted the award on behalf of the company which was one of 15 recipients of the award out of nearly 1,500 nominees nationwide.

The Freedom Award is the highest honor bestowed by DoD upon companies that show extraordinary support for their associates who serve in the National Guard and Reserves. Part of their recognition included office visits with the Commander-in-Chief, President George Bush, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Friday. As part of the recognition for the award recipients and to recognize the contribution of all citizen-soldiers, Bush declared October 16-22, 2005 as "National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week."

"These patriotic efforts allow our men and women in uniform to focus on their military assignments and help strengthen our country," said Bush in his proclamation. "Americans are grateful to these employers for putting the needs of our citizens and our country's safety and security first."

"I think we're all humbled by being recognized by the Defense Department," said Holcom. "We've found that not many people know about ESGR and we need to become ambassadors to expand corporate participation. Our team will begin actively engaging other companies and assist them with becoming ‘5-Star Supporters' of the program."

Some of the support for its Guard and Reserve members/associates that enabled Pioneer Services to achieve a "5-Star" rating and a nomination for the Freedom Award include paying any salary and benefits differential for up to two years during deployments, paying bonuses in advance of the deployment to assist with financial needs, and assigning a family support coordinator for the associate's family to assist with any issues that may arise. In some situations, Pioneer Services will set up video e-mail capability in the associate's home and pay for his or her Internet access, and will also pay cellular phone charges for associates who have company-issued phones.

"I cannot think of a better measure of the leadership and patriotism of a business organization than to be recognized for outstanding Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve," said Harvey, the keynote speaker for the awards ceremony. "And even more telling is that since the nomination has to be initiated by a Guard or Reserve member or family member employed by the company, it is truly driven from the bottom up.

Other recipients of the Freedom Award include: Alticor, Inc., Ada, Mich.; Citizens Financial Group, Providence, R.I.; Eaton Corp, Cleveland, Ohio; Enterprise Rent-a-Car, St. Louis, Mo.; IDA Corporation, Boise, Idaho; Los Angeles Police Department; Louisiana Department of Safety & Corrections; Ryland Homes, Calabasas, Calif.; Sears, Roebuck and Company, Hoffman Estates, Ill.; South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D.; State of Delaware; Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc., Torrance, Calif.; USAA, San Antonio, Texas; and Wachovia Corporation, Charlotte, N.C.  Past winners include Home Depot, General Electric, Bank One, Harley-Davidson and American Express.

This year's award ceremonies marked the 10th anniversary of the program.