Citizen Honors Medal Recognizes Heroes Among Civilians

Citizen Honors Medal Recognizes Heroes Among Civilians

During the U.S. Civil War, the Medal of Honor became an official military honor for military personnel who “distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action.” There have been 3,463 recipients of the medal since its inception.

In 2008, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (CMOH Society) launched the Citizen Service Before Self (Citizen Honors) Program “to recognize and… honor ordinary Americans who have accomplished extraordinary feats at the risk of their lives in a single grave situation or through a lifetime of service, placing others before themselves.”

The CMOH Society is accepting nominees for the 2013 awards until January 10.

According to the Washington Times, the 2010 Citizen Honors Medal went to “Timothy Brooks of Pennsylvania… after rescuing a woman and her three children from the Delaware River after their boat began to sink.” In 2011, the award went to Brian Wemhoff after “sacrificing himself to [foil] a robbery in May of that year.” 

Last year, the award “was given to the late Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto of Newtown, Connecticut, who gave their lives to protect their students during the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary last December.”

Once nominations close on January 10, 2014, a group of judges, “including Recipients,” will review the “several hundred nominations.” After this first set of judges selects a group of semi-finalists–“usually numbering 40 individual actions for bravery and 20 individual actions for lifetime service”–a second group of judges, comprised “entirely of Recipients,” will choose those who receive the Citizen Honors Medal.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins .