Sanford Health recognized with prestigious Freedom Award

Media contact:
Shawn Neisteadt
Sanford Health Media Relations
605-366-2432 /

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Sept. 21, 2020 — The Department of Defense has named Sanford Health as one of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipients, the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Sanford Health will be recognized with the award with a ceremony on Sept. 26 at the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance.

The award was created to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their guard and reserve employees. Almost half of the U.S. military is composed of the guard and reserve. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve. This award recognizes employers who provide the most outstanding support for their guard and reserve employees and is presented annually by the Secretary of Defense.

“Sanford Health is very proud to support the members of our armed services and the military veterans of this great nation,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “To be recognized for our efforts by the Department of Defense is a truly humbling honor. It must also be said that Sanford Health supports the military and our veterans because it is the right thing to do, not for the accolades.”

Sanford Health’s department of veterans and military services works to ensure the organization is an employer of choice for members of the guard and reserve, a provider of choice for those who have served our country, and a partner of choice by advocating for veterans programs in its communities.

Additionally, Sanford Health was named by Military Times as Best for Vets as a top military friendly employer, and as a 2020 Military Friendly Employer this month by VIQTORY.

“Companies that have earned this designation have invested in substantive programs to recruit, retain and advance veterans within their organizations,” said Josh Rosen, director of Military Friendly. “To them, hiring veterans isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s good for business.”

Sanford Health is one of 15 recipients of the Freedom Award for 2020. More than 2,600 organizations were nominated by guardsmen and reservists for the award this year. The Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the guard and reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 295 honorees to date.

For more information about the Freedom Award, visit To learn more about ESGR, a program of the Defense Personnel and Family Support Center, visit

About ESGR

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.