VFW honors Collins with 2017 Congressional Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In recognition of her “unwavering support of veterans, service members and their families,” as well as for “strengthening America through strong national security programs,” Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Brian Duffy bestowed the 2017 Congressional Award on U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.
Both Maine and national members of the VFW attended the ceremony, including Maine Commander Steven SanPedro and representatives from the Caribou post.
“Out of all of the awards that I have received, this one is really special to me,” said Collins. “As many VFW and Auxiliary members from Maine know, my father is a WWII veteran who was wounded twice in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. It was from him that I learned to honor and respect our veterans.”
For more than 50 years, the VFW’s Congressional Award has been presented annually to one sitting member of the House or Senate for their significant legislative contributions on behalf of those who have worn the uniform.
“Maine has more veterans per capita than all but two other states in the country,” Senator Collins continued. “In civic affairs, community projects, and charities, our veterans step forward, giving back when they already have given so much. I am so proud to be an advocate for our veterans.”
“On behalf of the 1.7 million Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Auxiliary, I’m pleased to recognize you for all your great work on behalf of America’s veterans,” Duffy told the senator.
“You have a very prestigious history of helping veterans. In particular, this year the VFW along with the Auxiliary took on the challenge of mental health awareness. I personally would like to thank you for your efforts, especially on behalf of women veterans, a disproportionate number of whom tragically commit suicide. For that and the many other accomplishments that you’ve made on behalf of America’s veterans, I’m proud to be here today to give you this award along with the officers from the state and the national level.”
He said, “Your presence and leadership on the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Appropriations, Armed Services and Intelligence, ensured our country was safe through increased defense budgets.
“Your record of not missing a Senate vote in 19 years also took care of the men and women who serve through the passage of critical quality of life programs, such as extended TRICARE coverage, military pay increases, and more community-based outpatient clinics, which keeps with the highest ideals and principles of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States,” Duffy said.
In conjunction with the award, the VFW hosted Collins at a legislative reception Wednesday, March 1, in Washington.
In introducing her, Duffy said, “It’s our honor to welcome Senator Collins, a life member of the VFW Auxiliary up in Caribou, Maine. Senator Collins has a long record of looking out for you, the veterans of America. …Much needs to be done, and thanks to the leadership of Senator Collins, much will be done to help our veterans. Please give a warm VFW and Auxiliary welcome to one of our biggest advocates here in Congress, Senator Collins.”
“I am deeply honored to be named the recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2017 Congressional Award,” Collins said. “I am especially delighted to be here with the national and Maine leaders of the VFW Auxiliary. Each of you, through your service to our nation in uniform and to our veterans through this great organization, makes me proud to be an advocate for veterans as well as a life member of the VFW Post in my hometown of Caribou.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of nearly 1.7 million veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.