AKRON—For the ways in which Goodyear works to support military service men and women and their families, the tire maker has received the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
First presented in 1996, the award is the nation's highest honor given for exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Goodyear claimed it is the first in the tire industry to receive the award, adding it was one of 15 companies to take home the honor this year.
“On behalf of the 1,400 Goodyear associates who are either U.S. military veterans or reservists, we proudly accept the Freedom Award,” said Steve McClellan, president of Goodyear Americas.
In a news release, Goodyear pinpointed several core initiatives that have contributed to its efforts to support the military. These include:
- Hiring 1,000 Guard, Reserve and veteran employees from 2011-14 and renewing that commitment in 2015;
- Supporting members of the U.S. Armed Forces and families through its annual “Support Our Troops” campaign, which has generated more than $1 million over the past six years; and
- Receiving executive leadership support for the company's military employee resource group, which advises hiring initiatives, mentors new Guard and Reserve employees and provides community and company networking assistance.
Goodyear, which claims to be the largest producer of tires for military vehicles, also noted it has helped build more than 150 blimps for the U.S. Navy and shows additional support through the customization of Goodyear Eagle race tires that display a “Support Our Troops” message during NASCAR races in Charlotte, N.C.
In June, Goodyear partnered with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to provide a donation of $100,000 to the nonprofit nationwide organization Support Our Troops, which works to bolster the morale and well-being of America's troops and their families.
“The extraordinary support Goodyear provides contributes greatly to the readiness and resilience of our guardsmen and reservists,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in the Goodyear press release. “Their support allows those troops to serve our nation at home and abroad knowing their civilian careers are secure, and is vitally important to the success of our national security strategy.”