ARLINGTON, Va., March 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medal of Honor Recipients commemorated National Medal of Honor Day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery today. Afterwards, the Recipients presented their 2017 Citizen Honors Awards to five outstanding Americans and the Fisher House Foundation.
"On National Medal of Honor Day we are humbled to lead the Nation in recognizing those who have sacrificed and honorably fought to defend our freedom," said Tom Kelley, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
"We have heroes among us everyday wherever we live," added Kelley. "Our Citizen Honors recipients set an important example for all Americans to emulate through their courage and service that help strengthen our communities and Nation."
The Citizen Honors Award is the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's highest award. The awards presentation was held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
The 2017 Citizen Honors recipients are:
- Jacob Ellis of Columbia, Missouri and Adam Brunk of Holts Summit, Missouri, were selected for their courageous act on August 21, 2016, when they rescued two people injured in a traffic accident. Ellis and Brunk freed the accident victims just before their car was engulfed in fire.
- Molly Hudgens of Ashland City, Tennessee, was selected for her courageous act on September 29, 2016, when she prevented a 14-year old middle school student from shooting teachers and administrators at Sycamore Middle School. Hudgens spoke with the student for 45 minutes until he agreed to surrender. No shots were fired during the incident.
- Travis Ellis of Senoia, Georgia, was selected for his selfless service in support of veterans through his work with Shepherd's Men, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to support post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries among service members. Ellis' efforts support the patients at the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center, a PTS and TBI rehab program.
- Katelyn Ibarra of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was selected for the Society's Youth Hero Award for her heroism in assisting several citizens injured in a traffic accident. Before emergency medical professionals arrived, Ibarra provided critical first-aid assistance and removed injured passengers from the immediate accident scene. Ibarra was trained in first aid through the Girl Scouts of Colorado.
- Fisher House Foundation of Rockville, Maryland, was selected for its steadfast support of American service members and their families. Fisher House Foundation is best known for their extensive network of comfort homes where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one receives critical medical treatment. Fisher Houses are located on 24 military installations and 29 VA medical centers around the world. Since its inception in 1990, Fisher House Foundation has supported more than 307,000 families.
Through their Citizen Honors Awards and the Medal of Honor Character Development Program the Recipients educate and inspire Americans to embody the values in the Medal of Honor: courage and sacrifice, commitment and integrity, citizenship and patriotism. To advance these initiatives, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society will also donate six new Medal of Honor Recipient oral histories to the Veterans History Project managed by the Library of Congress later today.
"We are donating these gifts to the Veterans History Project on Medal of Honor Day because we want all Americans to know the sacrifices that have been made on behalf of our nation," said Kelley. "By donating these oral histories to the Library of Congress, all Americans can access and learn more about those who courageously served America in the Armed Forces," said Kelley.
The Medal of Honor is the Nation's highest military honor, presented to Recipients for valor above and beyond the call of duty in combat. President Lincoln signed the Medal of Honor into law in 1861. Since then, 3,496 people have been awarded the Medal. Currently, there are 75 living Recipients Medal of Honor.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by the Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor recipients, to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal, to promote patriotism and love of country, and to inspire our youth to become worthy and dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 75 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation:
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation was founded in 1999 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal. Through character development, scholarship and citizen recognition programs based on the values embodied in the Medal — courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism — the Foundation teaches all citizens that they can make a difference in the lives of others. The Foundation also supports the important work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with Tax ID #25-1828488, the Foundation carries a rating of 4/4 stars for fiscal management, accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, America's premiere nonprofit evaluator.
Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
Contact: Eugenia Gardner, 202-390-0405
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SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation