DaVita®, a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) and a leading provider of kidney care services, learned today that it has received the prestigious Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Presented annually by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) arm of the Department of Defense, the Freedom Award recognizes employers for outstanding support of employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. It is the highest military-friendly award presented by the U.S. government. “We are privileged to have more than 1,700 reservists, members of the Guard, military veterans and military spouses as part of the DaVita community,” said Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita HealthCare Partners SM. “They make our company and our country stronger and better. It’s an honor to support them in every way we can.” The path to the Freedom Award begins with a nomination by either a member of the Guard or a Reservist employed by the nominee, or by a family member acting on the Guard or Reservist’s behalf. According to the ESGR, Freedom Award recipients demonstrate exceptional support for military employees, including offering flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment and leaves of absence if needed. In addition to those benefits, DaVita supports mobilized military teammates with continued health care coverage, up to $5,000 in financial assistance each year, and options for paid military leave. “I’ve never been asked to choose between serving my country through the Air National Guard and serving DaVita, its teammates and patients,” said Major Michael Freimann, assistant general counsel at DaVita and judge advocate general (JAG) for the Colorado Air National Guard. “I can’t imagine working for a more thoughtful, patriotic company.” Nearly 3,000 employers were nominated for a Freedom Award this year. An awards committee composed of senior Department of Defense officials, business leaders and prior honorees selected just 15 companies to receive a 2013 award. DaVita is one of only two Colorado employers to receive the Freedom Award this year.