Huntsville will host the Medal of Honor Gala: In the Company of Heroes on August 28, 2010 at the Davidson Center:
The gala, hosted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, will be the main event in a weekend of activities planned for about 35 Medal of Honor recipients and foundation board members who are expected to attend.
“This will be the largest gathering of Medal of Honor recipients in the state of Alabama and one of the largest ever in the Southeast,” said Jay Town, a former Marine major who is serving as the weekend’s event chairman.
“The event has a dual purpose – first, to celebrate and perpetuate the legacy of the Medal of Honor and to celebrate its recipients, and, second, to raise funds for the foundation projects.”
The foundation project that will benefit specifically from the gala will be the Medal of Honor Curriculum Program, which will be introduced in local schools during the 2010 school year.
Jay Town is a Madison County Assistant District Attorney (here’s his profile, along with several of my friends – including my liberal best friend). Town is chairing the absolute premier event in Alabama – and raising money for the “Medal of Honor Curriculum”:
Madison County’s three school systems have received $50,000 to train teachers for the curriculum. Paid for by a grant from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, the lesson plans are for middle and high school students.
The curriculum, which began in Pennsylvania, is about servicemen who received the nation’s highest military honor for valor in action, but the lesson plans are not about the military in nature.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation started the program in Pennsylvania and Huntsville is blessed to be one of the roll-out cities:
Under a grant from the General Electric Foundation, the Foundation has been working with the Erie and Wattsburg Area School Districts in Pennsylvania and a group of educators for more than two years to establish Medal of Honor-related lesson plans drawing upon the ideals of courage, sacrifice and selflessness embodied in the Medal of Honor, and their application in daily life to promote character development and better citizenship. A prototype kit was rolled out in these districts on September 28, 2009. The Foundation’s best-selling book, Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty and the “living history” videos and other research material are being used in support of the program, which has potential nationwide application.
Madison resident (and former Washington State Senator) Leo Thorsness (R – 11) is the President of the Medal of Honor Foundation, and will present the American Spirit Award to Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger:
“We all held our breath in amazement at Capt. Sullenberger’s courageous actions under extremely stressful conditions that have since garnered the world’s attention,” said Col. Leo Thorsness, a Medal of Honor recipient. Thorsness, who lives in Madison, is also president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
“Captain Sully’s attendance as an honoree continues to solidify the national significance of this Foundation event and the Medal of Honor,” said Jay Town, event chairman.
Sullenberger piloted US Airways flight 1549 to a safe landing in the Hudson River in January 2009, preserving all 155 lives on board. He is a former Air Force fighter pilot and flew F-4 Phantom IIs prior to launching his career in the commercial airline industry in 1980.