Safeway is a finalist for the top award from the U.S. Department of Defense for companies that employ members of the military's National Guard and Reserve. Safeway was selected as one of 30 finalists from a pool of 2,899 nominations, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest honor given to businesses that provide extraordinary support of military employees, such as granting additional leave before deployments, supporting veterans, offering additional career training, providing childcare for deployed employees and sending care packages.

Pleasanton-based Safeway was nominated by an employee in the Navy Reserve who said that the company's special intensive training program for National Guard and Reserve officers, which helps prepare them for management positions, helped him excel in his career. To date, 81 National Guardsmen and Reservists have completed Safeway's management program and received promotions.

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 named finalists. A board of Defense Department officials and business leaders will announce the Freedom Award recipients this summer, and the 15 selected companies will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26.


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