Courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity – demonstrated in the areas of leadership, service to country, community and education – are key qualities of the honorees recognized at The National WWII Museum’s “American Spirit Awards.” The multi-day series of events celebrating individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the WWII years benefits educational programming at the museum.
A Patron Reception was held on Thursday, June 7, in the Chinoiserie rooms of Windsor Court Hotel, the Official Hotel of the “American Spirit Awards.”
Recipients of the museum’s highest honor, the American Spirit Award, were Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, now deceased Senator John McCain and Gary Sinise.
In addition to the American Spirit Award, the 2018 American Spirit Medallion, bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate unselfish commitment and contributions to their community, state or nation, was presented to community leaders Susan Hess and Archie Manning, as well as cultural ambassador and public servant Adair Margo.
The medallion recipients accepted their awards during the “American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum” in partnership with Stephens, where 51 students from each state and Washington D.C. were presented the Billy Michal Student Leadership Award in recognition of their outstanding community service.
Notable speakers included Paul Hilliard, Museum Chairman of the Board of Trustees; John Hairston of Hancock Whitney (Presenting Sponsor); Stephen J. Watson, President & CEO at The National WWII Museum; Gordon “Nick” Mueller, Museum President & CEO Emeritus, who introduced Florence Davis of the Starr Foundation accepting on behalf of Hank Greenberg; Jim Courter, Museum Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees who introduced Gary Sinise; and Richard C. Adkerson, who introduced Senator John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, who gave a touching speech about her father.
A three-course meal was designed by top chefs of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group including chef Slade Rushing of Brennan’s Restaurant. A performance by The Temptations Review with Special Guest Theo Peoples closed out the Gala on Friday, June 8.
Mr. Paul Hilliard, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the museum, and Mr. Todd Ricketts, Museum Trustee, served as Event Co-Chairs.
Event at a Glance
What: “American Spirit Awards 2018,” benefiting The National WWII Museum
Where: The National WWII Museum
When: Thursday-Friday, June 7-8
American Spirit Medallion Honoree Archie and Olivia Manning
American Spirit Medallion Honoree Adair Margo with James Clement Jr. and Dorothy Clyne
Meghan McCain and Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees Paul Hilliard
Museum President & CEO Emeritus Nick and Beth Mueller with Debbie and Joe Exnicios
Jennifer Knight, Museum President & CEO Stephen Watson and Chip Knight