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Armed Forces Honor Longtime Air Force Volunteer

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2004 – The military services have chosen a longtime Air Force volunteer from Arizona as this year's recipient of the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Dorothy Hunt Finley, this year's recipient of the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award, and Navy Secretary Gordon England listen as the audience acknowledges Finley at a Dec. 2 Pentagon ceremony. Finley is a leading member of the Davis-Monthan 50, an organization dedicated to supporting airmen and their families at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson, Ariz. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Dorothy Hunt Finley is a leading member of the Davis-Monthan 50, an organization dedicated to supporting airmen and their families at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson.

"You are indeed the first lady of Davis-Monthan," Navy Secretary Gordon England said today in presenting the award to Finley in a Pentagon ceremony.

The mission of the Davis-Monthan 50, Finley explained, is "to help servicemen and women with whatever we can to help them be real close members of our community. We want them to have a great experience with their tour in Tucson," she said in accepting the award.

"After all, the people in the military today are all volunteers," she added. "And the least that we can do as civilians is to make their stay in Tucson a rewarding time."

According to the award citation, Finley was "instrumental in making the public more aware of what Davis-Monthan Air Force Base means to Tucson and the state of Arizona."

She lobbied for the base's position on local issues with the mayor and other officials. "Her leadership and ability had critical impact on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base issues concerning flight-line encroachment, possible base closures and justification for retaining Davis-Monthan's status," the citation read.

In presenting the award, England said Finley epitomizes the sentiment behind a favorite quote by Winston Churchill: "You make a living by which you get; you make a life by which you give."

"Here is a lady who has had a wonderful life, a wonderful life of giving to others," England said.

The award is named after Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, noted and much-loved humanitarians in military circles. The Fishers founded the Fisher House Foundation in 1990 to build "comfort homes" on the grounds of military and Veterans Affairs medical centers to house families of servicemembers and veterans receiving treatment far from their homes.

Today, there are at least 32 Fisher Houses at 17 military medical centers and six VA medical centers, serving about 8,500 families a year with lodging close to their loved ones for an average of $10 per night.

"If you are receiving this distinguished caring award in the name of Zach and Elizabeth Fisher, I will tell you that you are an outstanding individual," England told Finely during today's ceremony. "Because they were magnificent individuals in what they did for their country."

Contact Author

Biographies:
Navy Secretary Gordon England

Related Sites:
Fisher House Foundation
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.



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