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Old 01-31-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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Reserves Recognize Ford For Five-star Support

By Michael Collins, FCN

DEARBORN, Jan. 29, 2008 -- Affirming a company policy that has been in effect for decades, Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally signed an official statement of support Monday for Ford employees serving in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve.

"When I came to Ford, one of the things I was aware of is that the company has always supported this United States, the Department of Defense and Ford employees," said Mulally. "This is a phenomenal partnership, and you can count on our continued support."

During a ceremony at World Headquarters that included Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for Reserve Affairs and Vice Admiral John G. Cotton, the highest-ranking official in the Navy Reserves, Mulally accepted a commendation of Five Star Recognition from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

"This acknowledges what Ford has always been doing," said Hall. "The company goes above and beyond the law by supporting its employees with salary and benefits when they are serving in the Guard or Reserves or called up for active duty."

There are more than 2,200 reservists employed by Ford and an estimated 7,400 military and National Guard veterans work for the company. Since 2001, 166 hourly and salaried employees have been on one or more military leave of absences.

Not only does Ford follow Federal regulations that guarantee returning veterans and members of reserve units the jobs they would have had if they had not performed military service, it supplements their military pay to match the employee's Ford salary while on active duty.

Under the company's "Operation Noble Eagle," hourly and salaried employees on active duty also may opt for benefit continuation. The policy became effective after the 9/11 attacks. The benefit continuation can last as long as five years.

ESGR is a department of defense agency established in 1972 whose mission is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and reserve.

During the presentation, Vice Admiral Cotton acknowledged Chief Petty Officer Todd Brooks, a Ford Product Development employee who was named the 2007 Reserve Sailor of the Year.

Brooks recently spearheaded the development of the company's Ford Veteran Network Group, a corporately recognized Employee Resource Group designed to provide support services for Armed Forces Reservists and National Guard members. The organization provides help for Ford employees called into active duty and provides support for members who may be experiencing some form of emotional or psychological challenges from combat experiences.

"Ford Motor Company's foundation was built on the premise of a family working together toward a common goal and taking care of one another," said Brooks. "That's the very same foundation our military was built on."

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