The Newark, NJ, facility of Con-way Freight has been presented with the “Patriotic Employer Award for its support of the National Guard and Reserve. Con-way employs nearly 2,700 military service veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, it said.

Patriot Award winners are eligible for The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers committed to employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

“I’m proud to work for an employer who provides extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Lenny Romano, personnel supervisor at Con-way Freight’s Newark service center. “Engaged employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s National Guard and Reserve units.”

Romano, who accepted the award during a ceremony at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY, was recognized for his individual actions in support of deployed soldiers.

Con-way Freight was nominated for the award by Army Reserve Specialist (SPC) Oliver Cunningham, a freight operations supervisor at the company’s Newark location. SPC Cunningham serves with the HHD, 436th Transportation Battalion (MC), Ft. Wadsworth, Staten Island, N.Y.

According to Con-way, it offers employee/soldiers pay differentials and uninterrupted health benefits for their families during the first year of deployment. Over the last five years, the company has paid more than $1.1 million in differential compensation to its deployed citizen/soldiers. The company’s human resources representatives maintain contact with soldiers’ families to ensure that they understand all available benefits, while employee volunteers also provide outreach to families, assisting them with everyday challenges such as home maintenance, auto repairs and snow removal. For employees on active duty, the company sends care packages full of items like soap, shampoo and magazines.

Upon return from active duty, employees are reinstated to the same or equal job, pay and grade level.  If an employee needs to move for a returning job, the company pays relocation expenses. To help employees readjust to civilian duty, Con-way’s Employee Assistance Program provides access to counseling through the company’s health benefit plans.

The Patriot Award was created by Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and the Department of Defense to publicly recognize employers who believe in a strong National Guard and Reserve. Employers qualify for recognition when they demonstrate leadership and promote personnel policies that encourage employee participation in the Guard and Reserve.