PLEASANTON -- Safeway was awarded the top honor that businesses can receive from the U.S. Department of Defense for hiring, training and supporting large numbers of returning veterans and members of the military's National Guard and Reserve, the supermarket company announced Tuesday.

Safeway has received the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for its efforts recruiting and hiring returning veterans, offering full benefits to employees in the Reserve and National Guard, and promoting some veterans to higher-paying management positions after they complete an intensive 41-week training program.

Steven Carhart, a Safeway employee and member of the Navy Reserve, nominated the company for the award. He said in a news release that Safeway's training program, which helps prepare employees for supervisor and manager-level positions in the company, helped him excel in his career. To date, 81 National Guardsmen and Reservists have completed Safeway's management program and received promotions.

In 2012, Safeway hired nearly 1,500 veterans, with over 1,300 of them hired into the company's retail stores. Safeway has also committed to hiring at least another 1,500 veterans by the end of 2013.

Safeway is one of 15 award recipients selected from a pool of 2,899 nominations. Pasadena-based C.W. Driver, a general contracting and construction management company, also received the award.


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Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26.

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