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Service Members Awarded New American Legion Award

Special to American Forces Press Service

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 18, 2000 – Enlisted representatives from the five armed services received the American Legion's new Spirit of Service award at the group's 82nd National Convention here Sept. 5-7.

Award winners are Army Sgt. Laura Jernigan of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Navy Petty Officer 2nd class Annette Marie French of the Naval Security Group Activity, Chesapeake, Va.; Marine Corps Sgt. Evella Smith of 29 Palms, Calif.; Air Force Staff Sgt. Billy Fly of the 625th Air Mobility Support Squadron, Naval Station Rota, Spain; and Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd class Corey King of the U.S. Coast Guard Safety Office, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

The award honors the recipients' "exceptional volunteer service to "God, country and community," an American Legion spokesman said. Winners were nominated by their commanders. Besides etched glass and marble trophies, winners received a one-year membership in the American Legion.

"We wanted to honor men and women in uniform who reflect the great spirit of service to others that the founders of our organization considered essential," said National Commander Alan G. Lance Sr., who presented the awards. "They reflect a strong commitment to serving others -- a spirit of service that deserves the highest recognition the American Legion can provide."

"Before, I was only aware that The American Legion was an organization of veterans," said King, a marine science technician. "Since then, I have learned that they play a leading role in service to this country. I feel excitedly curious to see what programs I might play a role with in the future."

"I feel I have finally found a bountiful family that has all the qualities everyone should live by: faith, hope, integrity, spirit of community, honesty, caring and unselfishness," Jernigan said.

(From an American Legion news release.)

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