Hawaii government wins national Freedom Award

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii state government is being honored for supporting its employees who also serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

Gov. Linda Lingle and Maj. Gen. Robert GF Lee accepted the 2010 Secretary of Defense's Employer Support Freedom Award during a ceremony in Washington on Thursday.

It's the first time a state has been recognized with the award.

Fourteen other employers nationwide also won the award this year.

Lingle says the state has instituted programs and tax breaks to thank service members.

State Rep. Mark Takai, a major in the Army Guard, nominated the Hawaii government for the award.

The Support Freedom Award was created in 1996 in an effort to promote employer support for Guard and Reserve service.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.