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Medal of Honor Recipients Announce 2017 Citizen Heroes

ARLINGTON, Va.Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced today its 2017 Citizen Honors Award winners. The six heroes were chosen by the Recipients of the Medal of Honor from a field of 20 finalists in the nationwide program.

Since 2008, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has selected U.S. citizens and community organizations for their acts of courage and selfless service which epitomize the American spirit. These extraordinary American citizens will be recognized on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25, by our nation's greatest heroes, the Recipients of the Medal of Honor.

"The Citizen Honors Awards recognize and celebrate the exceptional deeds that America's citizen heroes perform every day in communities across our Nation," said Thomas G. Kelley, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. "Our 2017 winners embody the spirit of the Medal of Honor and represent the highest levels of service and heroism. They've earned this award through their courage, selfless service or commitment to our nation's military service members and families." 

The 2017 Citizen Honors winners are: 

  • Jacob Ellis of Columbia, Missouri and Adam Brunk of Holts Summit, Missouri, were selected for their courageous act on August 21, 2016, when they rescued two people injured in a traffic accident. Ellis and Brunk freed the accident victims just before their car was engulfed in fire. 
  • Molly Hudgens of Ashland City, Tennessee, was selected for her courageous act on September 29, 2016, when she prevented a 14-year old middle school student from shooting teachers and administrators at Sycamore Middle School. Hudgens spoke with the student for 45 minutes until he agreed to surrender. No shots were fired during the incident. 
  • Travis Ellis of Senoia, Georgia, was selected for his selfless service in support of veterans through his work with Shepherd's Men, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to support post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries among service members. Ellis' efforts support the patients at the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center, a PTS and TBI rehab program. 
  • Katelyn Ibarra of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was selected for her heroism in assisting several citizens injured in a traffic accident. Before emergency medical professionals arrived, Ibarra provided critical first-aid assistance and removed injured passengers from the immediate accident scene. Ibarra was trained in first aid through the Girl Scouts of Colorado
  • Fisher House of Rockville, Maryland, was selected for its steadfast support of American service members and their families. Fisher House is best known for their extensive network of comfort homes where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one receives critical medical treatment. Fisher Houses are located on 24 military installations and 29 VA medical centers around the world.  Since its inception in 1990, Fisher House has supported more than 307,000 families. 

These six heroes will be recognized at a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, on National Medal of Honor Day, Saturday, March 25, 2017.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society congratulates all of this year's finalists:  

Greta ArndtNorth Aurora, Illinois 
Patricia BaisdenForest Park, Georgia 
Joe BidawidRoyal Oak, Michigan 
John Feal, Nesconset, New York 
Marcus Johnson,Triangle, Virginia
Bethany KusterPen Argyl, Pennsylvania
Margaret MatthewsGroton, Massachusetts
Joe PaneitzHumble, Texas
George SkypeckAccokeek, Maryland
Josh WandellElizabethton, Tennessee
Trevan WestFredericktown, Missouri
Healing Household 6, RichlandNorth Carolina
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Arlington, Virginia 
Headstrong Project, Holmes, Pennsylvania

"The winners and finalists demonstrate the capacity of individuals and organizations to improve American communities significantly. These awards encourage all Americans to consider how they can serve and help build stronger communities," said Kelley. 

For more information about the Citizen Honors Award or the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation website at http://themedalofhonor.com.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by the Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor recipients, to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal, to promote patriotism and love of country, and to inspire our youth to become worthy and dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 75 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation:

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation was founded in 1999 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal. Through character development, scholarship and citizen recognition programs based on the values embodied in the Medal — courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism — the Foundation teaches all citizens that they can make a difference in the lives of others. The Foundation also supports the important work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with Tax ID #25-1828488, the Foundation carries a rating of 4/4 stars for fiscal management, accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, America's premiere nonprofit evaluator.

Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
Contact: Eugenia Gardner, 703-373-7172

SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation