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Awards Luncheon

Our Award Programs serve as a way to thank members of our community whose projects or actions reflect the best of the American spirit of volunteerism by offering constructive solutions to contemporary problems. We are also proud to recognize the dedicated service of veterans and other individuals whose patriotic citizenship has left the community a better place for all.

Student Delegates with Medal of Honor Recipient John Baca.


Our Local Heroes

Dr. Karin Jooss and Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient John Baca

The following outstanding persons were the recipients honored for their leadership, volunteerism, and excellent communications at the San Diego Chapter's 44th Annual Awards Luncheon held at the Admiral Baker Club House on February 11, 2016.

Chapter President, Brenda Ferich, Awardee Omar Passons and nominator Adele Lancaster.

                            OMAR PASSONS
                 George Washington Honor Medal

Omar Passons is a volunteer organization's volunteer! He is devoted to his community and eager to be involved where he can contribute to making things better for all who live here. He shares time and ideas serving on boards of organizations whose sole purpose is to find effective ways to help those in need. He participates in events that require hands-on effort, and by example, encourages others to get involved. He mentors young people in the community, demonstrating that there are people who truly care, making a huge difference in their lives. Volunteering in many capacities, Mr. Passons epitomizes that "giving back" is not just a slogan, but a way of life. He exemplifies the Spirit of American Volunteerism.

Jan Kugler, nominator with Awardee Jennifer Prisk and Brenda Ferich

                       George Washington Honor Medal

Jennifer Prisk, founder and President of Voice of Women (VOW), gathered a group of like-minded women 14 years ago to raise awareness of world issues especially as they pertain to refugees, human trafficking and education that is vital for women to succeed and gain a voice on the global stage. VOW develops programs to educate, uplift and empower women and children locally, nationally and globally. Education is the key to a better life for women and children around the world. Two out of three illiterate adults in the world are women. To date, VOW has staged 80-plus educational programs, partnered with organizations to increase its reach and honored other nonprofit organizations that have the same goals. VOW supports the Daraja Academy in Kenya, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, the Tomorrow Project and United Women of East Africa Support Team, all which encourage underserved women and children to reach their full potential.

                       George Washington Honor Medal

Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh celebrate the 200th anniversary of the writing of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as an editorial in the San Diego Union. Our national anthem plays a vital role in our national identity and is a symbol that sparks unifying imagination––the ability of a far reaching , diverse people to see itself as a truly united states. The authors present the history of the anthem and emotions felt by Francis Scott Key as he wrote the 4-stanza poem on the back of an envelope that night in 1814 at Fort McHenry. It took over 117 yeaers to be adopted as the national anthem and we find the spirit of the music inspired us as much as the words.

Nominator Sally Syren with recipients Caroline McCullagh and Richard Lederer with President Brenda Ferich.

Brenda Ferich, recipient Barbara Chavez representing SDMOM.

                     George Washington Honor Medal

SDMOM has a long tradition of serving military famlies beginning in World War II. In January 2006, SDMOM was incorporated as a separate public charity supported by churches, businesses, civic organizations, the military and their families as well as private donors. They provide helpful services to enlisted military families (mostly ranks E-5 and below), typically headed by a 19-30 year old with young children and trying to survive in our expensive economy on a low salary ranging from $18,564 to $35,412. The organization provides gift cards, children's clothing, toys, bikes, books, infant diapers, baby food, baby furniture, and small household items. They host frequent baby showers on the Navy and Marine Corps bases and holiday events. All of this is FREE to the troops. Barbara Chavez accepted the George Washington Honor Medal for SDMOM.

                              GEORGIA LANGHORST
                              San Diego Honor Plaque

Improving the lives of childhood cancer victims was the goal of Georgia and Bob Langhorst over a decade ago. With cooperation from Kaiser Hospital and the San Diego Zoo, they formed the Success Optimist Club to turn the children's cancer ward into a “rainforest” with colorful murals, curtains, and other art work. Art days are held at the San Diego Zoo where children and families meet the animals and trainers and then create animal centered art. Georgia continued this work after the death of Bob with the help of good friends, Bill and Linda Meyers. This project brings joy into the lives of the stricken children and their families and they will continue to have support from it in the years to come.

Nominator Virginia Syverson presents a San Diego Honor Plaque to awardee Georgia Langhorst with Brenda Ferich.

Marje Acker honored as the 2016 San Diego County “PATRIOT OF THE YEAR ”

Many thanks to the Board for their support and donors who made generous contributions to the success of the event.

Recognition of community members who are making a significant difference is such an important part of our chapter's program. We need your help in identifying groups or individuals who “go above and beyond the call of duty”on a local regional or national level to promote good works and serve their community on an ongoing, day to day basis. If you are interested in nominating someone for an award, or interested in working on this committee, email Jo Liddell.