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For Immediate Release

Easter Seals Applauds Safeway Inc. on Receiving the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

Easter Seals Top Corporate Sponsor is awarded the highest honor for Employer Support of National Guard and Reserve Employees

Chicago, October 7, 2013

Media Contact:
Kristen Barnfield
kbarnfield@easterseals.com
312.551.7147
http://www.easterseals.com

Easter Seals Applauds Safeway Inc. on Receiving the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

Easter Seals Top Corporate Sponsor is awarded the highest honor for Employer Support of National Guard and Reserve Employees

Chicago, September 27, 2013-- Safeway Inc. was awarded the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the nation's highest honor given to employers for exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve, at a special ceremony on Thursday night in Washington, D.C.  They were one of 15 employers to receive the prestigious Freedom Award.

Every April, all 1,600+ Safeway stores across the United States and Canada raise funds to support Easter Seals services. Safeway and the Safeway Foundation raised over $9 million in 2012 for People with Disabilities and have been a top contributor to Easter Seals with over $129 million in contributions since 1986.  We believe the award is well deserved.

"This award holds special meaning because it recognizes our longstanding commitment to providing employment opportunities to the brave men and women who risk their lives to serve and defend our country," said Safeway President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Edwards. "It is with much pride that we accept the Freedom Award and we congratulate the other employers receiving this honor."

The 2013 award recipients represent large and small businesses, as well as public sector agencies. They were chosen from a field of nearly 2,900 nominations submitted by Reserve Component Service members.

"This week, we honor members of the National Guard and Reserve who carry that legacy forward," said President Barack Obama. "We thank the employers who support them; and we reaffirm our promise to provide our troops, our veterans, and our military families with the opportunities they have earned."

Safeway has a long history of commitment to men and women in the military and has helped sponsor Easter Seals for over 27 years. They support our veteran and military initiative here at Easter Seals and provide similar job training programs to those of the Dixon Center: a clearinghouse for collaboration, communication, sharing lessons learned, and innovative solutions delivered locally for all who serve and have served in our military. The company was among the first employers to commit (more than 10 years ago) to cover the pay differential and extend full benefits to employees in the Reserve and National Guard called to active duty. Safeway continues to provide this benefit. 

The company has aggressively responded to the need for employment with returning veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve through its Junior Military Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer (JMO/NCO) Programs. Graduates of these intensive training programs qualify for Store Manager and Assistant Manager jobs and a range of other manager-level positions in various areas of the company.

Again, Easter Seals congratulates Safeway Inc. on receiving the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, and we thank you for your continued support.

About Easter Seals
For nearly 100 years, Easter Seals has provided life-changing solutions to the people of our country. From children and adults living with disabilities, to military families looking to serve their communities, Easter Seals is committed to creating a world of inclusion, dignity, empowerment and independence. We personalize solutions for individuals with autism, and intellectual and physical disabilities through innovative therapy, training, education and support services. 

Recognizing the new and unmet needs of so many returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are also addressing serious gaps in service by mobilizing our national network of community-based services through a partnership with Dixon Center (www.theDixonCenter.org). At Easter Seals, we are equipped to serve thousands of individuals and military families across our 70+ affiliates, 550 nationwide service sites, 27,000 professional staff and 40,000 local volunteers. Find out more at www.easterseals.com.

About Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales.  The company operates 1,412 stores in the United States and 223 stores in Canada with annual sales of 44.2 billion in 2012.

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