2009 Above & Beyond Citizen Honors Presented
Above & Beyond Citizen Honors Announces and Honors 2009 Recipients
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 – The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation today announced and nationally honored the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients for 2009. After a nationwide search and selection process, three Americans have been selected for their selflessness and indomitable courage. The three unsung heroes are:
Rick Rescorla of New Jersey, for sacrificing his life on September 11, 2001 by courageously rescuing his fellow citizens by ordering the evacuation of all 2,700 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. employees from the building and leading them to safety, and following, by re-entering the building to search for survivors.
David Bryan of Kansas City, Missouri, for going above and beyond by valiantly rescuing a motorist from a burning automobile on Eastbound I-70, one mile from the city of Higginsville, Missouri.
Jeremy Hernandez of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a part-time youth worker, for above and beyond by saving the lives of 50 children as the school bus they were on was about to plunge into the Mississippi River following the I-35W Bridge Collapse.
The 2009 Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients were recognized by our nation’s most honored heroes, the fewer than 100 living Medal of Honor recipients, in the shadow of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The Tomb of the Unknowns represents the epitome of courage, sacrifice and selflessness in service to our nation.
The Above & Beyond Citizen Honors ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 2 p.m. EDT. The primary sponsor of the 2009 Above & Beyond initiative is TriWest Healthcare Alliance, with additional support provided by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Lt. Gen. James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D., Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Robert Howard, the President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society; and, David J. McIntyre, Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board member and TriWest Healthcare Alliance President and CEO made formal remarks. More than thirty-five Medal of Honor recipients were in attendance.
“I, along with all of the living Medal of Honor recipients, salute Rick Rescorla, David Bryan, and Jeremy Hernandez for their selfless acts,” said Bruce Whitman, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “As true heroes among us, these three remarkable recipients epitomize the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors concept of ‘service above self’ by representing the values of courage, sacrifice and selfless service. Their actions are an inspiration to Americans everywhere.”
After considering all nominations, a panel of judges consisting exclusively of Medal of Honor recipients, selected one finalist from every state, plus the District of Columbia. From among these 51 finalists, the panel then selected three individuals to receive one of the highest civilian honors, Above & Beyond Citizen Honors. A complete list of the 51 finalists is available on the Above & Beyond website, www.aboveandbeyond365.com.
“The Above and Beyond Citizens Honors recipients are evidence that the ideals demonstrated on the battlefield by those who received the nation’s highest distinction, the Medal of Honor, are as applicable to civilian life as they are to military life” said David J. McIntyre, Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board member and TriWest Healthcare Alliance President and CEO.
“It just doesn’t get any better than this, our nation’s quintessential heroes lifting up civilians who have also demonstrated exemplary selflessness, courage, love of country and service to their fellow man. Just imagine where our country would be were we all to live by such values,” added McIntyre.