The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Highlights from the 55th annual Silver Helmet

On Saturday night, AMVETS hosted its 55th annual Silver Helmet Awards banquet at the BWI Hilton in Linthicum, Md.

AMVETS from across the country packed the house to pay tribute to this year's recipients, Danny Devine, Tammy Duckworth, Cathy Hargrave, and "E.J." Knapick. Devine, Duckworth, and Knapick are all members of AMVETS.

(AMVETS National Commander John C. Hapner poses for a photo with Tammy Duckworth and her husband, Army Maj. Bryan Bowlsbey.)

(AMVETS National Deputy Provost Marshal Arthur "A.J." Johns prepares each Silver Helmet Award for presentation.)

(Tammy Duckworth accepts her award as Civil Servant of the Year. During her acceptance speech, Duckworth brought many in the room to the brink of tears, recounting her experiences and the struggles she has overcome as a wounded warrior.)

(Danny Devine accepts his Silver Helmet Rehabilitation Award. Devine spoke about his motivation to continue serving his fellow veterans--a mission he embarked upon in the mid-1990s as a staff member at AMVETS National Headquarters. Devine also spoke about the personal sacrifices that have come along with a life dedicated to serving the needs of veterans.)

(AMVETS Past National Commander Chuck Taylor presented Cathy Hargrave with her Silver Helmet Americanism award for her tireless work at Poy Sippi Elementary School in Wisconsin. Taylor caught Hargrave by surprise when he hosted a special reception at Poy Sippi, announcing the award. Taylor gathered Hargrave's students, family, and Poy Sippi leaders to recognize Hargrave for her accomplishments. Taylor somehow managed to keep it from her in the unincorporated Wisconsin village of fewer than 1,000 residents.)

(WWII Navy veteran "E.J." Knapick accepts his award as AMVET of the Year, the highest honor AMVETS can bestow upon its members. Knapick is a charter member of New York AMVETS Post 21 and he has been a vocal contributor within the veterans' community and at every level of AMVETS for nearly 60 years.)

(Devine meets with Duckworth and her husband prior to the evening's banquet.)

I wanted to share some of the evening's moments with you, and I apologize for the length of this post. Once we start an AMVETS Flickr account, this will be considerably easier.


(All photos by Ryan Gallucci)