BAE, Laconia Savings award semifinalists

BAE Systems of Nashua and Laconia Savings Bank have been named semifinalists for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor given to employers for support of their employees in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

According to the Department of Defense, the two New Hampshire employers distinguished themselves from a pool of 4,049 nominations submitted by service members in 2011. Employers chosen as semifinalists support their Guard and Reserve employees through a variety of formal and informal initiatives, including providing the difference between military and civilian salary during deployments, continuation of full benefits, sending care packages and supporting the families of employees fulfilling military obligations.

A national review board will narrow the group of 148 national semifinalists to 30 finalists. Then, a national selection board comprising senior defense officials, business leaders and prior award recipients will select the 15 recipients for the 2011 Freedom Award.

The Department of Defense is expected to announce the finalists this month and the award recipients in early summer. The 2011 recipients will be honored in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 22.

– MICHAEL CLEVELAND