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Governor Beebe's Weekly Column and Radio Address: Recognizing Unsung Heroes

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Whenever we face disaster or crisis in Arkansas, we hear stories of the outstanding, and sometimes heroic, deeds of everyday Arkansans. Our citizens never hesitate to stand up for each other and do extraordinary things, taking actions that often go unrecognized despite their admirable display of courage and selflessness. We know that the people of this State give freely of themselves for others in need or in danger. This spirit of generosity truly characterizes Arkansans, and if you know someone who personifies this spirit, you have the chance to help make their selfless acts known far beyond our borders.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Foundation are searching nationwide for unsung citizen heroes. This Foundation represents America's most elite group of citizen heroes who have been awarded our nation's highest award for valor: the Medal of Honor. There are now fewer than 90 living Medal of Honor recipients among us. For the fifth year in a row, this group will bestow its own national award to recognize heroism among their fellow Americans.

Known as the Citizen Service Before Self Honors, these awards recognize and honor heroes who have selflessly sacrificed for others, be it through a single act of extraordinary heroism or the culmination of a lifetime of selfless acts. Winners in 2011 included a Pennsylvania man who rescued a woman and her three children from the Delaware River after their tour boat collided with a barge and sank. A pediatrician was recognized for his career committed to treating children, often providing his services for free. And a woman, who sacrificed her life by shielding a boy from an out-of-control car barreling toward him, was honored posthumously.

If you know someone who represents the values of courage, sacrifice and selfless service, I encourage you to nominate that individual for this national award. The nominee's actions must epitomize the concept of "service before self" and must be performed above and beyond one's professional area of responsibility or conduct. You can find more information and nominate someone for consideration online at www.CitizenServiceBeforeSelfHonors.org. Nominations must be received by Friday, February 10. Submissions will be considered by panels that include Medal of Honor recipients. Three honorees will be chosen to receive the award at a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery near the Tomb of the Unknowns in conjunction with national Medal of Honor Day.

I am proud of Arkansas's civilian heroes, and I know that those who do stand up to help others do so because it's the right thing to do, not for any recognition they may receive. However, by helping to celebrate these selfless acts, we remind ourselves of the good within people, the instincts that help us serve one another. If you know someone who qualifies, I hope you'll nominate that person for this national accolade highlighting extraordinary acts of heroism. It's the least we can do to thank the unsung heroes among us.


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