CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office received national recognition on Wednesday, becoming one of only a few across the nation to earn the award.

Sheriff Kristin Graziano hosted members of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) along with military members and local politicians in receipt of the 2022 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The ‘Freedom Award’ is the highest national honor for businesses and organizations that support employees’ service in the military reserve forces.

While there were almost 3,000 nominees, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office was one of 15 to receive the recognition.

Sheriff Graziano expressed her gratitude to be one of the few chosen. She said it inspires the department to keep supporting military members.

“It’s hard to put into words, it really is. We have been really aiming for this for a while, years. It finally happened. I just can’t even put into words how incredibly special it is. Not just for us but for all the military folks that work here, that selflessly give of themselves.,” Sheriff Graziano said.

Since its inception in 1996, the Freedom Award has been given out to 325 employers nationwide.