ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's 78 living Medal of Honor recipients want citizens across the nation to nominate unsung heroes to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Citizen Honors Awards. The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery, on National Medal of Honor Day, Fri., March 25, 2016.
The Society created the Citizen Honors Awards in 2008 and has honored 27 citizen heroes to date. The awards recognize hometown heroes who demonstrate courage and selfless service through actions that make a difference in the lives of others.
"We know that every day in communities across the country, citizens perform extraordinary acts of courage and selfless service when confronted with difficult circumstances," said Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry, USA (Retired) who received the Medal for his exceptional service and combat bravery while serving in Afghanistan. Wounded in both legs, Petry remained at his post and when a grenade landed between him and two other soldiers, Petry grabbed it and attempted to throw it away from them when it exploded. He saved the soldiers' lives but lost his right hand. "My fellow recipients and I are asking Americans to nominate their hometown heroes—their friends, co-workers and neighbors—for 2016 Citizen Honors Awards. Our intent is to recognize individuals who have made a lasting impact in their local community through their acts of bravery and service."
2015 Citizen Honoree Alton Brieske, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., was selected for his singular act of heroism. On Dec. 10, 2014, he risked his life to rescue a fellow citizen who passed out while experiencing an apparent heart attack resulting in his car becoming submerged in a nearby lake. Brieske dove into the lake known to have poisonous snakes and alligators, unselfishly rescuing the unconscious driver as others stood by and watched.
"I'm proud to join our nation's Medal of Honor recipients in urging Americans to nominate people who have performed selfless acts of courage or service to others. By recognizing our nation's citizen heroes, the Medal of Honor recipients are showing others in the community that they, too, can act in this manner if the situation arises," said Brieske. "One person's actions could save a life and strengthen our community and society.
"The Citizen Honors Award is important because it shows people that in the midst of what may be going on throughout the world, there are good people all around who are not afraid to act selflessly," he added. "This award promotes the idea that more people should act selflessly and, more importantly, that those acts of selflessness and bravery perpetuate service and kindness in our society."
A panel of Medal of Honor recipients will review all nominations and select 20 finalists, which will be announced on Jan. 18, 2016. From the finalists, a second panel of Recipients will select the three Citizen Honors winners. Two will be chosen for single acts of courage and one for an act of selfless service and kindness. The three winners will be announced on Feb. 1, 2016.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years of age or older. Citizen Honors nomination applications, available at www.cmohfoundation.org, will be accepted until Dec. 18, 2015.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation: The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation (www.cmohfoundation.org) was founded in 1999 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society with the mission to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal through outreach and education. Through its Character Development Program, the Foundation reaches out to the citizens of America, and particularly to young Americans, to promote an awareness of the values embodied in the Medal and to teach that ordinary citizens, through courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism, can make a difference in the lives of others. The Foundation, which also supports the important work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit with Tax ID #25-1828488.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society: The Congressional Medal of Honor Society (www.cmohs.org) 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 dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 78 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.
CONTACT: Eugenia Gardner, (703) 373-7172
SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation