Sam Johnson Announces Inaugural Congressional Veteran Commendation Ceremony and Board
Nov 22, 2011 -
Today, U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) announced he will hold a public ceremony to honor local veterans selected for his first annual Congressional Veteran Commendation (CVC), a nominations-based program designed to formally recognize the wartime sacrifices and peacetime community involvement of Third District residents. The CVC runs in conjunction with the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress.
When: Saturday, December 3, 2011 – 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Collin College Spring Creek Campus
John Anthony Theatre
2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, TX 75074
Who: U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson
Dr. Cary Israel, President of Collin College
Congressional Veteran Commendation Selection Board
Why: The Congressional Veteran Commendation, in conjunction with the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress, is a nominations-based program designed to formally recognize the wartime sacrifices and peacetime community involvement of residents of the Third Congressional District and to preserve their stories for future generations of Americans.
As a federal legislator, Johnson works tirelessly on behalf of U.S. military personnel and veterans. This program is just one way to highlight and bring honor to those who have faithfully served our nation.
An eight-member selection board serves as a group of advisors to assist with nominations and the selection of commendation recipients. The board is comprised of impressive individuals dedicated to serving as leaders in their communities and country. Information on each member, who will serve on the selection board for a four-year term, follows:
Tracey Cline of the Allen Economic Development Corporation is an avid community servant and local leader. Cline received the Spirit of Allen Award in 2009, naming her the city’s standout resident of the year. Cline lives in Allen with her husband Larry and daughter Jenney. Their son Jonathan recently graduated from Baylor University and joined the United States Army.
Jim Dolan is founder and president of Heroes on the Water, an Allen-based non-profit organization that leads kayak and fishing excursions for wounded warriors. After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1976, Dolan served as a pilot in the Air Force for 13 years including 8 years stationed abroad. Dolan now flies for American Airlines.
Chad Hennings, also a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, is a decorated military and football veteran. Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1988, Hennings postponed entering the NFL to fulfill his commitment to the Air Force. During his four-year stint as an Air Force pilot, Hennings flew 45 missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq. Hennings then spent his entire nine-year NFL career with Dallas, retiring in 2001 after playing on three Super Bowl championship teams. Hennings is the founder of Wingman Ministries.
Karen Marks is a Plano resident and proud U.S. Marine Corps Mom. A leader within the Plano West Rotary and Blue Star Mothers Lone Star Chapter 6, Karen heads up the organizations’ joint “Battle of the Branches” blood drive each year just before Veterans Day. Marks also plays an integral role in Plano’s annual Sunset at Memorial Park ceremony.
Jason Morgan of McKinney is former U.S. Air Force Special Ops and a wounded warrior. Morgan lost the use of both legs when his team was ambushed during a counter-narcotics action in Ecuador in 2000. Thanks to Canine Companions for Independence, an organization he proudly promotes, Morgan now travels the country with his service dog, Nepal, winning countless medals for Team Air Force in the Wounded Warrior games and encouraging others to overcome adversity.
Tim Nelson is a businessman and community leader in Frisco. He serves on the Frisco City Council, Place 5. A Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, Nelson recently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. With past deployments to Iraq and Kuwait among others, Nelson is the recipient of such accolades as the Bronze Star and two Meritorious Service Medals. Nelson, Cubmaster of Frisco’s Cub Scout Pack 282 and active member of VFW Post 8273, lives with his wife Candice and their children in Frisco.
Collin County Judge Keith Self is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with over 25 years of distinguished military service. Self spent nine of those years in the 82nd Airborne Division and Green Berets, first retiring from active duty in 1999. He was recalled to active duty from 2002-2003 to serve at U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan and Qatar during preparations for the Iraq invasion. Self lives in McKinney with his wife Tracy and serves on the boards of The Samaritan Inn and Prestonwood Pregnancy Center.
Patrick Sowers is the founder of Operation Once in a Lifetime, a Plano-based non-profit which raises funds for specific projects to make the dreams of soldiers and their families reality. Just this month, the organization granted the dream of Jeffrey and John Adams, two sons of Army Master Seargeant Daniel Adams who recently lost his life in Afghanistan. The boys were honored by the Pittsburgh Steelers during their favorite football team’s nationally televised game. Sowers is a former U.S. Army Sergeant, proud father, and Allen resident.
Board members will be present at the December 3rd ceremony to assist in announcing the commendation recipients. In addition, an in-depth interview of each honoree may be conducted and forwarded to the Veterans History Project to be added to the Library of Congress collection.
For more information about the program, contact Johnson’s Richardson office at (972) 470-0892.
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