Local builder lauded for supporting veterans

Delmarva Veteran Builders president Chris Eccleston (left) accepted the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award on Aug. 26 at the Pentagon. The award the highest honor the Department of Defense gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees. He accepted the award with Builder’s employee Daniel Mills (right) who nominated the business. (Submitted photo)

Delmarva Veteran Builders president Chris Eccleston (left) accepted the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award on Aug. 26 at the Pentagon. The award the highest honor the Department of Defense gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees. He accepted the award with Builder’s employee Daniel Mills (right) who nominated the business. (Submitted photo)

DOVER –– On Aug. 26, representatives from Delmarva Veteran Builders headed to the Pentagon where they were honored as one of 15 organizations to be awarded the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

“These 15 employers have distinguished themselves through their outstanding support of our Guard and Reserve members and their families,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon ceremony. “Without the unfaltering support of employers like them, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve would not be able to fulfill their vital roles in our national security strategy.

Veteran Builders was up against 2,423 other nominees from all 50 states for the award –– the highest honor the Department of Defense gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

“We were shocked an overwhelmed,” said Chris Eccleston, president of Veteran Builders. “We were among companies like Lowe’s, Good Year Tires and state police organizations. It was definitely an honor for a small company like ours.”

Delmarva Veteran Builders is based in Salisbury, Maryland, and is the region’s only commercial construction firm dedicated to bringing employment to U.S. armed forces veterans. It currently employs 17 members of the National Guard and Reserves who work on construction projects all over Delaware and Maryland.

The veterans recently completed an amphitheater at Akridge Boy Scout Reservation in Dover and is currently working on Sussex County’s new Medic 104 Emergency Response Center.

“We are constantly applying for jobs and pursuing new bid opportunities because we are committed to providing our employees with steady jobs that involve meaningful work,” Mr. Eccleston said.

All 2,424 candidates for the Employer Support Freedom Award had to be nominated by an employee and when Veteran Builder’s newest addition, Daniel Mills heard about the business’ mission and current activities, he knew he needed to nominate them.

“I actually filled out the application for the award before I accepted the job and moved to Maryland,” Mr. Mills said. “The reason for the nomination was because I witnessed from the top to the bottom, the company has served and every single employee knows what it’s like to strap on their boots and be a part of the less than 1 percent of individuals who serve our country. Delmarva Veteran Builders was founded on this understanding and makes every effort to take care of our warriors and veterans.”

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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