WASHINGTON, D.C. - Verizon today received a Home Front Award from the Department of Defense in recognition of the company's support of families of the more than 200,000 mobilized members of the National Guard and Reserves.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz presented the award to Verizon Executive Vice President Ezra Singer at a breakfast ceremony held at the United States Chamber of Commerce here. New York Gov. George Pataki commended Verizon's participation via a videotaped greeting.
Afterwards, at a White House reception for the award recipients, President Bush signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 17-23 Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.
Verizon's award recognizes the company's contribution of 325,000 Family Front prepaid calling cards to families of National Guard and Reserve members who were activated to serve in the U.S. military in connection with the war in Iraq. The cards, representing 10 million free minutes of calling time, were distributed by the United Service Organizations (USO) in 17 states beginning in April.
"We're gratified that, by helping people stay in touch, we could make things just a little easier for the families of our servicemen and women," said Larry Babbio, Verizon vice chairman and president. "We also hope that - in our small way - we have contributed to the sense of community and unity of purpose that give our country strength and hope in this time of national commitment."
The Home Front Awards were created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and recognize the continuing resolve of corporate America to support those employees on military leave. The awards program is conducted by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a U.S. Department of Defense agency established in 1972 with the end of the draft and creation of the all-volunteer military force.
In addition to Verizon, three other firms received Home Front awards: Albertsons (a regional grocery chain), Clear Channel Airports and Home Depot.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 650 Verizon employees have taken emergency military leave, and approximately 250 are currently serving at home and overseas. The company supports its employees by providing one of the country's most generous corporate benefits package for employees called for active duty. The package includes differential in base pay, continuation of medical, dental, vision and insurance coverage for employees and eligible dependents, and continuation of service and pension credit.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 139 million access line equivalents and 36 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with nearly 16 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.