Top U.S. Veterans Announced for Distinguished Awards

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American Veterans Center Names 2014 Honorees from WWII to the War in Afghanistan

Their service in many cases changed history

Today, the American Veterans Center (AVC), which honors all who have served our country, announced the top veterans for its distinguished 2014 awards. These war heroes have served in conflicts ranging from WWII to the war in Afghanistan, and all have shown bravery and valor above and beyond the call of duty.

These heroes will be recognized at The American Veterans Center Honors, just before Veterans Day. The program will be broadcast later in the month, making it the first televised awards show honoring our military heroes.

“The American Veterans Center is honoring this particular group of men and women because they’ve each made heroic contributions to our country. Their service in many cases changed history, and as always on Veterans Day weekend we celebrate these extraordinary stories, and all who’ve served our country,” says Jim Roberts, President of the AVC.

The awardees for the 2014 American Veterans Center Honors are:

  •     LTC James Megellas (Wisconsin) – The most-decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division, he commanded a company during World War II, and earned a Distinguished Service Cross, and a Silver Star.
  •     The 101st Airborne Division in World War II – 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the division’s drop into Normandy on D-Day and Holland in Operation Market Garden, and their legendary stand at Bastogne which helped secure victory in the Battle of the Bulge. The division will be represented by veterans from the Second World War.
  •     Elinor Otto (California) – A 94-year-old “Rosie the Riveter”, who answered the nation’s call for women factory workers in 1942 during WWII, and is still working at a C-17 plant in Long Beach, California.
  •     The “Borinqueneers” (Puerto Rico) – The Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army that gained its highest acclaim for heroic service during the Korean War, and was recently voted to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
  •     SFC Melvin Morris (Oklahoma) – Recently awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life in a daring mission to recover a fallen comrade in Vietnam.
  •     Lt. General Susan Helms (Oregon) – Former Commander of the 14th Air Force and former NASA astronaut. She was a member of the Space Shuttle Endeavor crew and was the first U.S. military woman in space, holding the record for the longest spacewalk at nearly nine hours.
  •     SFC Joe Kapacziewski (Connecticut) – After losing a leg following an enemy attack in Iraq, Kapacziewski is the only Army Ranger to return to direct combat with a prosthetic leg. To date, he has served 11 tours in the Middle East, six as an amputee.
  •     Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer (Kentucky) – Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipient, who during a battle in Afghanistan risked his own life to recover the bodies of four missing service members and help American and Afghan troops escape to safety.

A detailed list of AVC Honorees, including details about their service as well as photographs of each, is available at http://www.americanveteranscenter.org/events/avchonors/. The honorees will accept their awards at The Honors gala and taping on November 8th at 7:00pm at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Interviews from AVC leadership and veteran honorees available upon request.

About the American Veterans Center: The American Veterans Center (AVC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational foundation dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of our military personnel. The Veteran’s Day events are held annually in Washington D.C. For more information, visit http://www.americanveteranscenter.org.

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Meredith Resnick