National Medal of Honor Day 2016

America’s Medal of Honor Recipients laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery today to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day. They also presented their Citizen Honors Awards at a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

“Every year on this day the Medal of Honor Recipients recognize and honor the the service members who have sacrificed and fought to defend our freedom,” said Tom Kelley, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “National Medal of Honor Day provides the opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the freedom we enjoy.”

Following the wreath-laying ceremony, the Medal of Honor Recipients presented their Citizen Honors Awards to four people and one organization.

“The Medal of Honor Recipients created the Citizen Honors Awards to encourage and inspire service and valor in communities across America,” said Kelley. “With these awards we’re asking all Americans to consider how they can serve and build a stronger America.”

Chris Mintz of Roseburg, Ore., was selected for his courageous act on Oct. 1, 2015 when he confronted a shooter on the campus of Umpqua Community College, preventing further loss of life. Mintz, a U.S. Army veteran, was shot five times and continues to recover from his wounds.

James Vernon of Morton, Ill., was selected for his courageous act on Oct. 13, 2015 when he subdued an attacker who threatened to kill 20 middle school students and their parents participating in an after-school chess club meeting at the public library. While all of the children were unharmed, Vernon was injured in the attack.

Lt Col (Retired) Eileen Hadbavny, U.S. Air Force, of Charleston, S.C., was selected for her lifetime of selfless service in support of veterans through her volunteer work with the Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Hadbavny served as an Air Force Reserve flight nurse for 28 years.

This year, the Society created two new Citizen Honors Awards to recognize young heroes and community service organizations.

Myles Eckert of Toledo, Ohio, was selected to receive the Young Hero Award for his volunteer philanthropic work on behalf of Gold Star children. To date, Eckert has raised more than $2 million.

United Through Reading (UTR) selected to receive the Community Service Hero Award for its innovative and grassroots response to a critical need in the armed forces community and its exceptional international impact on military families. UTR offers deployed military service members the opportunity to be video recorded reading books to their children at home in nearly 260 locations worldwide.

The Citizen Honors program is made possible through the generous support of Boeing. To date, 36 exceptional Americans have received Citizen Honors. For more information about the 2016 Citizen Honorees visit

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 77 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.

SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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