Safeway was honored by the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday for its extraordinary support of employees who serve in the military's National Guard and Reserve.

The Pleasanton-based grocer was among three California employers selected as semifinalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the Defense Department's highest honor for companies that employ members of the Guard and Reserve. Semifinalists were nominated for going above and beyond to support military employees, such as granting additional leave before deployments, supporting veterans, providing childcare for deployed employees and sending care packages.

In addition to Safeway, the nation's second-largest supermarket chain, the Los Angeles Fire Department and Pasadena-based C.W. Driver, a general contracting and construction management company, were also nominated. A total of 138 employers were recognized nationwide, and up to 15 award recipients will be announced early this summer and honored in Washington, D.C. in September.

Contact Heather Somerville at 925-977-8418. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.