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Murrysville police department honored for military support

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A local police department is being honored for its support of local military personnel.

Murrysville Police Department is one of six departments across the state — and the only one in Southwestern Pennsylvania — to be nominated for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The national award recognizes employers who show strong support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserves.

“The men and women serving have allowed us to remain a free and protected nation,” Murrysville Chief Tom Seefeld said.

“The sacrifices they've made have been a blessing to our country.”

Across the state, 178 employers were nominated, including more than a dozen from southwestern Pennsylvania. Members of the Guard and Reserve Service or their family members could nominate employers between November and January.

Seefeld said his department is humbled by the nomination. His force has one guard and reserve staff member, Officer Tom Hart. The department also employs several military veterans.

“The (department) … fully supports the mission, calling and dedication of guard and reserve personnel,” he said.

Nearly half of the U.S. military is made up of guard and reserve members, according to the Department of Defense. Freedom Award recipients are recognized for going to “extraordinary” lengths to do so.

“Every year, these nominations demonstrate the strength of our employers' commitment to supporting our Guardsmen and Reservists,” Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve National Chair James G. Rebholz said in a statement. “We applaud all the National Guard and Reserve Service members who took the time to tell the (Department of Defense) why their employers are exceptional, and we are grateful to the 2013 nominees for providing our Citizen Warriors with the assistance and encouragement they rely on while answering the call to duty.”

Seefeld said his personal connections to the military — his father retired from the Army and his brother served as an Army military policeman — reinforced how important it is to support the armed forces. It's a philosophy he tries to project in the community.

“It is vitally important that we, as a police agency, and the community as a whole show support for the armed forces,” Seefeld said. “They are the true heroes.”

The agency will announce semifinalists later this spring. As many as 15 employers will be recognized nationwide.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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