Grand Strand Medical Center was named one of the 15 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in recognition of the organization’s exemplary support for its National Guard and Reserve employees.

HCA Healthcare - Grand Strand Medical Center, along with 14 other recipients, were selected from 3,382 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them. Celebrating its 25th year, the Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 310 honorees to date.

“I am grateful to have been employed by Grand Strand Medical Center throughout the years,” said Army Reserve Spc. Karina Banaduc, who nominated Grand Strand Medical Center for the award. “The staff has supported me through my immigration processing and my military career, as well. For example, when I had to leave halfway through orientation to help on a COVID-19 mission up north, I was granted more orientation time when I returned. My journey has been a complicated one from the start, but I could always count on them for anything I needed.”

HCA Healthcare - Grand Strand Medical Center prioritizes recruiting and hiring National Guard and Reserve Service members, and publicly highlights their employees’ military service at special events. In addition, they stay connected and take care of family members when their Service member is deployed, and offer differential pay during deployments.

“I am proud to salute the outstanding employers who have earned the distinction of being named Freedom Award recipients as we mark the 25th year of this highly coveted recognition,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. “The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve make significant contributions to our communities and our national security through their civilian and military careers. We owe a debt of gratitude to these exemplary employers, who by valuing and supporting their employees’ military service, enhance the strength, readiness, and diversity of our National Guard and Reserve forces.”

The award was presented to HCA Healthcare - Grand Strand Medical Center, with recognition events in South Carolina, where Grand Strand Medical Center is located, and in Tennessee, where HCA Healthcare is headquartered.

Learn more about the Freedom Award and this year’s Freedom Award recipients.