STATE OF HAWAI‘I RECEIVES 2010 SECRETARY OF DEFENSE EMPLOYER SUPPORT FREEDOM AWARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, Governor Linda Lingle and Major General Robert G. F. Lee today accepted the 2010 Secretary of Defense’s Employer Support Freedom Award during a formal ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given to employers for their support of their employees who also serve in the National Guard and Reserve. The Hawai‘i State Government was selected as one of only 15 employers from across the nation to receive the 2010 Freedom Award. This is the first time a state is being recognized with the award. A national selection board comprised of senior Defense officials and business leaders selects the award recipients.
“We are proud of our members of the Hawai‘i National Guard and Reserves and we have instituted a number of programs and tax breaks as a way of thanking our men and women in uniform for their service,” said Governor Lingle.
Nominated by State Representative Mark Takai, the Hawai‘i State Government was selected for the Freedom Award for its outstanding support of Guard and Reserve members. The Hawai‘i State Government provides credit to government employment retirement for deployed years and preferential hiring for members of the Guard and Reserve who have been deployed. In addition, the State held a welcome home parade and celebration upon the return of the 29th Brigade through Waikīkī. The Hawai‘i State Government received the ESGR Pro Patria Award in 2009 and 2010.
The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. Its mission is to develop and promote employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and service members. Since 1996, only 130 companies have been presented with the prestigious Freedom Award. Coastal Windows, an O‘ahu company, won the award in 2008.