When Adam Lacks was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 he received care packages and thank you letters from Nationwide associates he had never even met.
Although he didn’t work at Nationwide during his deployment, his wife Amanda worked in the Raleigh office and his mother-in-law worked in Columbus.
“I knew even before joining Nationwide that our culture embodies the word family,” he says. “Nationwide associates went above and beyond to support my family while I was away.”
He also knew that, in addition to sending care packages, the Military Associate Resource Group (MARG) provided support to his wife while he was deployed. She also had the flexibility to take time off work while he was home on leave.
“It put me at ease knowing she had a group of people around her at work who understood what she was going through,” says Lacks, who is now a major in the U.S. Army Reserves. “It made me feel safer knowing I could focus on my work. If your mind isn’t right when you’re 7,000 miles away, that’s a recipe for an accident to happen.”
Nationwide deeply values the experiences service members and veterans bring to the company. Nationwide has continued its commitment to hire veterans and offer benefits to support active duty service members.
For example, Nationwide offers time off work and pay differentials so active duty service members will receive their full pay while they are in training or deployed. A dedicated HR representative also helps the associate’s leader prepare for deployment.
MARG also supports veterans by providing networking and mentoring opportunities and offering veterans a way to connect with one another through shared experiences.
This is why Lacks nominated Nationwide for the U.S. Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
Nationwide is one of 15 companies in 2019 to receive this honor. Since the award was instituted in 1996, only 220 employers have been honored.
Nationwide has previously received several state and local honors from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the lead U.S. Defense Department program promoting cooperation and understanding between civilian employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees. These awards recognize Nationwide’s formal and informal support of service members and veterans.
“Nationwide is an example of how all employers should act,” Lacks says. “I’m proud to work for a company that understands the leadership and experience veterans bring to an organization and the effect that deployment has not only on service members, but also on their families.”
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