Story by COL Richard Goldenberg on 09/04/2019WASHINGTON Barclays Bank, the employer of New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Bryon Linnehan, was honored at the Pentagon August 23 as one of 15 top employers in the nation for their support to the Guard and Reserve.
Barclays was one of 15 private-sector and municipal employers to receive the 2019 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award its exceptional support to employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserves.
Linnehan, a vice president at the company who lives in New Providence, New Jersey, nominated his employer for the prestigious award.
"Barclays has always stepped up and that's why I nominated them for the award," said Linnehan, who serves in the New York National Guard Joint Force Headquarters.
The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their support of the Guard and Reserve.
Former Air Force Reserve officer James Stewart presided over the ceremony, performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
The nation would not be possible without the support of private-sector employers, Stewart said.
"In today's security environment, we need to leverage our advantage that we have," Stewart said. "That's our people, and their skills. ... Having these employers here to go ahead and support them is absolutely essential."
It is employers like Barclays, Stewart said, who ensure that when Guard members are needed, they are available to serve.
"If we did not have you there with your support network, our members would not be able to go ahead and serve, because they would be too worried about their job and their families," Stewart said.
Linnehan, nominated Barclays to a national selection board earlier this spring. That national selection board, composed of senior DoD officials, business leaders and past winners, selected the 15 employers to receive the award from 2,415 nominees.
The company deserves this recognition for going above and beyond the norm for supporting military reservists, Linnehan said. One part of that is the company's military network for service members.
The Barclays Military Network, a group of over 500 employees, works in conjunction with Barclays Military & Veterans Outreach (MVO) team to spearhead Barclays' work with military personnel.
Linnehan is one of the leaders of the Barclays Military Network.
"Over the past few years we have increased the network's activity in support of veterans, and as a result we are delighted to have increased both the number of veterans employed at Barclays, and our engagement in the community," he said.
"It's pretty remarkable that people are balancing basically two careers," said Ed Olsen, the Chief Compliance Officer at Barclays where Linnehan works. "It's just awesome to be able to support that."
The Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 265 honorees to date.
"It is a true honor to be recognized by the Department of Defense with the Freedom Award," said Richard Haworth, Chief Executive Officer for Barclays Americas. "Barclays has implemented a range of impactful programs for colleagues, within the community, and with the Department of Defense itself, all designed to make Barclays an employer of choice for service members and veterans."
The award ceremony coincided with the declaration of August 19-24 as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week with a proclamation signed by President Donald J. Trump. The week recognizes the essential contributions employers continue to make supporting the military service of their National Guard and Reserve employees.
"I'm very grateful that Barclay's has supported my continued service," Linnehan said. "It helps me be a better employee as well as a better Soldier."