|Each year on National Medal of Honor day, recipients award three
civilians with their own medal for displaying valor and selflessly
helping others. (CMOHF/Brendan Kownacki)
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society (The Society) is comprised of the living recipients of the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award to military heroes for acts of wartime valor. Each year, on National Medal of Honor Day, the Medal of Honor recipients recognize three civilian American heroes by awarding them the Citizen Service Before Self Honors (Citizen Honors) for acts of courage and selflessness in their daily lives, either for a single act of bravery and or for an ongoing act of service.
The Citizen Honors recipients are chosen from a pool of 20 finalists who were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted from across the country by friends, colleagues and community members.
2014 Citizen Honors Awardees:
For a Single Act: Michael Landsberry
Nevada middle school mathematics teacher Michael Landsberry distinguished himself through extraordinary heroism by shielding students from an armed 12-year-old boy who opened fire at Sparks Middle School on October 21, 2013. Upon seeing the armed student, Michael had walked calmly to the boy and tried to talk him into turning over the hand gun, giving the other students time to flee. During this act of courage, Michael Landberry was fatally shot. A devoted father, a former Marine and a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, Michael had celebrated his wedding anniversary the previous Friday. He had served two tours in Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard and was well known in his school community. He went above and beyond to protect the lives of his students, sacrificing his own life in an extraordinary act of selflessness. His heroic actions reflected great credit upon himself, his family, his community and the State of Nevada.
For a Single Act: Connor Stotts
Eagle Scout Connor Farland Stotts distinguished himself through extraordinary heroism on the night of a church barbecue in Oceanside, California, when he rescued three friends in danger of drowning. Seventeen-year-old Connor and five others were swimming on July 31, 2011 when a strong rip tide pulled them out to sea. Connor, a junior life guard, knew about rip tides and techniques for escaping them. He sought to advise the group, but his friend Belle was exhausted and asked for help. Connor pulled Belle to shore and left her when she had solid footing. He returned to do the same for his friend Christian. The third time he helped Karen, who was losing consciousness. He put her on his back and sometimes held her arms around his neck to keep her from slipping off, leaving him with only one arm to swim. Connor risked his life repeatedly to save the lives of his friends. His example of courage, selflessness and unwavering commitment in the face of life-threatening conditions is an inspiration to the community of Oceanside. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, his family, and the state of California.
For an On-going Act of Service: Troy Yocum
During his deployment in Iraq, Army OIF Veteran Troy Yocum saw first hand the after-affects of battle, as he watched his colleagues struggle with depression and PTSD. Upon returning home in 2009, he made it his mission to help veterans struggling with PTSD and depression. He embarked on a “Hike for Heroes”, walking 7,880 miles across America and helping to raise $1.3 million to support over 1,800 military families. In 2011, Troy founded Active Heroes, a 501c3 charity with four programs, including lifetime assistance funds for wounded veterans, a fitness team building program with 10,000 active veterans, a community program repairing over 25 homes for military families, and a healing program to build a 144-acre military family retreat in Shepherdsville, Kentucky to combat the veteran suicide epidemic. Troy Yocum has gone above and beyond to improve the lives America’s veterans throughout the United States. His selfless service reflects great credit upon himself, his family, his community and the State of Kentucky.
The Medal of Honor recipients will bestow the Citizen Honors medals on these hometown heroes on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25th, in a special ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns.
“This is a chance to honor Americans who have gone above and beyond in the civilian world. Ordinary individuals who, in a crisis situation, do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons,” says Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum. “People like this are what makes America great, so we’ve got to stop and honor them and think about them. They have stepped forward and made us proud.”
Members of the public are welcome at this year’s ceremony, which will be held from
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. For more information on the Citizen Honors ceremony, please go to http://cmohfoundation.org/citizen-honors/ceremony-info/.