Congressional Medal of Honor Society hosting awards ceremony in Charleston

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Congressional Medal of Honor Society on Wednesday announced that the 2020-2021 Citizen Honors Service Awards ceremony will be held in Charleston for the first time.

The awards are given by Medal of Honor recipients to “ordinary Americans who have gone above and beyond to perform extraordinary acts of service.”

Drew Dix, President of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, said that “Medal of Honor Recipients come together to recognize service and commitment beyond the call of duty, not only on the battlefield, but also at home in the course of everyday life.”

The ceremony will take place at the Belmond Charleston Place on July 14.

Prior to the ceremony, Medal of Honor recipients will be given keys to the city by Mayor John Tecklenburg, and one recipient will throw out the first pitch at a RiverDogs game.

The 2020 Citizen Honors Service Award recipients are:

  • Service Act:
    • Michael Jernigan of North Richland Hills, TX, for his lifetime of selfless service to improve the lives of blind and impaired veterans. Michael co-founded “Paws for Patriots” at South Eastern Guide Dogs, which provides guide dogs and service animals to veterans.
  • Youth Service Award:
    • Zachary Brooks of Summit, NJ for his advocacy of those affected by autism. Zachary founded “Artfully Abled”, an art event showcasing the abilities of those with developmental disabilities.
  • Community Service Hero Award:
    • Women Veteran Social Justice Network, Women Veteran Social Justice Network, in Atlanta, GA, for their work to identify, connect and empower Women Veterans through professional and personal connections.

The 2021 Citizen Honors Service Award recipients are:

  • Service Act:
    • Aidan Reilly and James Kanoff from Pacific Palisades, CA, were chosen for their selfless service as they responded to a nationwide crisis during (and because of) a global pandemic to create a grassroots initiative — FarmLink Project – connecting farmers with surplus product to communities in need.
  • Youth Service Award:
    • Charles(Charlie) Austin, from Brunswick, ME, was chosen for his selfless service for donating time and money to help fund and develop The Warrior Program, a virtual training program for Special Olympics Maine (SOME). As Charlie grappled with living with cardiac limitations, he was determined to stay in the world of sports and immersed himself in helping athletes of Special Olympics Maine (SOME).
  • Community Service Hero Award:
    • The Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF) was selected for their outstanding service to our military, their families and first responders. Now in its 10th year of operation, GSF honors our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need through creation and support of unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.

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