Mrs. Myers Receives First 'American Spirit Award'
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 8, 2005 The wife of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today received the National Defense University Foundation's inaugural American Spirit Award at Fort Lesley J. McNair here during NDU's 2005 American Patriot Award Gala Kickoff.
Mary Jo Myers accepts the first American Spirit Award during the 2005 American Patriot Award Gala Kickoff June 8 at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington. The National Defense University Foundation honored the wife of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers for her contributions to education, volunteerism and philanthropy. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Mary Jo Myers, wife of Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, received a crystal bowl in recognition of her contribution to and love of her country.
The American Spirit Award was created to recognize the distinguished contributions and commitment to the core values of strong character, concern for others and love of country that have made the nation a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom, according to foundation officials.
Mrs. Myers was chosen for the award because of her numerous contributions to philanthropy, education and volunteerism.
"We are particularly proud that Mary Jo Myers will be the first recipient of this award," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles D. Link, the foundation's president and chief executive officer. "We choose to honor Mrs. Myers with the first ever 'American Spirit Award' not only for her work with the American Patriot Award, but for who she is: a generous, caring, hard-working, dedicated woman of the 21st century who is a role model to others." Myers has served as co-chair of the American Patriot Award Host Committee for each of the past three American Patriot Award Galas.
Lynne Pace, wife of Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and President Bush's choice to succeed General Myers when the chairman retires this summer, said Mrs. Myers held many titles, including Ambassador, Mom, Wife, Nana and Military Spouse, but the most important of those to Pace was that of Friend. Mrs. Pace went on to praise Myers' role as a military spouse.
"Mary Jo understands the military spouse," she said. "She understands that the military spouse is not someone who has chosen, or even understands the difficulty they face as a military spouse, but someone who ... can appreciate how precious the gifts of freedom and liberty and are, because she has paid her share of the cost."
General Myers also took the microphone to congratulate his wife for her achievements.
"The secret to my success is Mary Jo," the chairman said. "There's never been a question. I thank you for taking the time to recognize her, and through her, all ... military spouses."
The group consisted of National Defense University Foundation members, corporate sponsors and friends and family. And Mrs. Myers, drawing on a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville in which he said that America was great because it was good, praised them for their good works.
"I'm incredibly honored," she said. "You've honored me today, but I've only tried to serve to honor those men and women in uniform and their families who serve the country so nobly. As I look across this room today, all of you out there are doing good with your works and your volunteerism, and that's the American spirit that we're celebrating here today."
The recipients of the 2005 American Patriot Award, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii and Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, will be honored at a gala in December.
The National Defense University Foundation is America's preeminent institution for military, civilian and diplomatic national security education, research, outreach and strategic studies.