On Saturday, April 4, AMVETS Department of Maryland honored Washington Times columnist and blinded veterans' advocate John Fales with its prestigious PNC A. Leo Anderson Memorial Free State Award of Excellence.
Fales, better know by his pen name "Sgt. Shaft," accepted the award during a special ceremony at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Md. AVMETS National Commander John C. Hapner and National Executive Director Jim King were on hand to congratulate Fales on receiving AMVETS Department of Maryland's highest award.
Fales, a native of Silver Spring, Md., served in the U.S. Marine Corps for tours in Vietnam and Beirut before losing his eye sight while on active duty. Fales became a vocal advocate for wounded and disabled veterans, and in 1985 founded the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, one of the nation's leading advocates for sensory-disabled veterans.
Today, Fales is an award-winning advice columnist with the Washington Times, and his work has been syndicated in a variety of print and online media across the country, including one of the nation's leading online military forums, Military.com.
AMVETS Department of Maryland Commander Michael P. Mahoney presented Fales with the award. Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs and State Adjutant General James Adkins also said a few words on the contributions of Fales to the veterans' community.
(Photo: AMVETS Department of Maryland Commander Michael P. Mahoney presents Fales with the PNC A. Leo Anderson Memorial Free State Award of Excellence, while master of ceremonies and AMVETS Life Member Clarence Bacon looks on. Photo courtesy of AMVETS Department of Maryland.)