Contractors are always doing things that people can't see, whether its underground, above grade or in between walls. But sometimes they do things behind the scenes that really makes them stand out. Such is the case with Pasadena, CA-based general contractor C.W. Driver, which was recently awarded with the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The Freedom Award is the DoD’s (Department of Defense) highest recognition given to employers for "exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees." C.W. Driver was one of 15 companies around the country to receive the honor, distinguishing themselves from a total of 2,899 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists.

The 2013 recipients will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2013.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a news release said that while many employers are finding ways to contribute to national security, these employers stand out for their "commitment to our guardsmen and reservists" and for their "exceptional support to our citizen warriors."

C.W. Driver, which last week broke ground on a new $7.5 million, 20,000-sq-ft Student Health and Counseling Building at California State University San Marcos, was nominated for the award by a member of the navy reserve. The reservist reported that the general contractor regularly sends letters and care packages to deployed employees, hosts send-off and welcome home parties, and supports spouses and families in a service member’s absence.

In addition, the company stays in contact with deployed employees, sometimes arranging for an employee stationed overseas to lead the Pledge of Allegiance for a company meeting via Skype. The contractor partners with the DoD employment program "Hero 2 Hired," to encourage area employers to hire National Guard and Reserve Service members.

Other members of the design and build community to win this year's award along with CW Driver are Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc., a professional civil engineering consulting firm from San Antonio, TX; and Steel Plate Fabricators, a welding and metal fabricator from Knoxville, TN.

Since 1996, only 175 employers have received the Freedom Award. Previous honorees have met with the president and vice president of the US, as well as the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.