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Medal of Honor Recipients Announce 2018 Citizen Heroes


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  • Eugenia Gardner/ The Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Veterans Heritage Project Student Katya Hoodkoff Interviews Vietnam/Cold War Veteran Ray Rodes About His Service In 2012. (Photo Courtesy Of Barbara Hatch/ Veterans Heritage Project)

The Veterans Heritage Project of Phoenix, Arizona, was selected by The Congressional Medal of Honor Society as one of five 2018 Citizen Honors Award recipients.

This local organization was honored with the Community Service Hero Award for its innovative after-school course for middle and high school students that provides an enriching educational experience by connecting them with U.S. military veterans in a nationally renowned oral history and publication program.

Veterans Heritage Project has submitted more than 1,500 veterans’ stories to the Veterans History Project’s archive at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Medal of Honor Recipients Announce 2018 Citizen Heroes Selfie-at-reception

Vietnam War Veteran Michael Baker takes a selfie with a young admirer at the Phoenix Edition II book reception and signing in 2016 (Photo courtesy Barbara Hatch/Veterans Heritage Project)

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced its 2018 Citizen Honors Award recipients, who were chosen by the Recipients of the Medal of Honor from a field of 20 finalists in the nationwide program.

Since 2008, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has selected U.S. citizens and community organizations for their acts of courage and selfless service which epitomize the American spirit. In commemoration of National Medal of Honor Day, the Medal of Honor Recipients will recognize these extraordinary American citizens at a March 23 ceremony, made possible by The Boeing Company, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.

“The five recipients earned the Citizen Honors Award because their courageous actions and selfless service embody the spirit of the Medal of Honor and its values of courage and sacrifice, commitment and integrity, citizenship and patriotism.” said Drew D. Dix, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Their stories are amazing and inspiring, and my fellow Recipients and I are proud to recognize them for the positive difference they make in their communities.”

The 2018 Citizen Honors recipients are:

Robert Engle of La Vergne, Tennessee, selected for his courageous act on September 23, 2017, when he subdued a gunman inside Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. Engle’s actions prevented further loss of life in the deadly shooting.

Matthew Cobos of Trabuco Canyon, California, selected for his courageous act on October 1, 2017, when he shielded and provided life-saving medical treatment to concertgoers injured in a mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada.

Kimberly Scofi of Atlanta, Georgia, selected for her selfless service in support of veterans through her work with United Military Care and other veterans-based service organizations.

Virgil Smith of Hitchcock, Texas, selected for the Young Hero Award for his heroism in assisting several neighbors stranded during Hurricane Harvey. Before emergency professionals arrived, Smith used an air mattress to rescue 17 neighbors trapped in their homes due to high water.

Veterans Heritage Project of Phoenix, Arizona, selected for the Community Service Hero Award for its innovative after-school course for middle and high school students that provides an enriching educational experience by connecting them with US military veterans in a nationally renowned oral history and publication program. As a result, thousands of veterans’ oral histories have been donated to the Library of Congress.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society congratulates all of this year’s finalists:

Kevin Chitwood, Louisville, Kentucky
Macy Coulter, Grand Junction, Colorado
Marcus Eliason, Flagstaff, Arizona
Charlie Finlayson, Eagle, Idaho
Lisa Klein, Oakland, California
Marlina Rayne Lakey, Anderson, Indiana
Arjun Mainali, Hicksville, New York
Jim McIngvale, Houston, Texas
Diane Starzak, Oakpark, California
Stephen Willeford, Sutherland Springs, Texas
Taylor Winston, Las Vegas, Nevada
Blue Ridge Honor Flight, Asheville, North Carolina
Gold Star Teen Adventures, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Operation Gratitude, Chatsworth, California
The Mission Continues, St Louis, Missouri

“You can see from the recipients and the finalists there are great heroes serving in communities all across America,” said Dix. “We hope the Citizen Honors Awards inspire all Americans to consider how they can serve and help build a stronger Nation,” said Dix.

For more information about the Citizen Honors Award or the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation website at http://themedalofhonor.com.

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 71 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 because the Medal is only awarded for action against a hostile force in time of war.

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.