U.S. Rep Nick Rahall (D -- W.Va.) Monday received the 2012 Harry S. Truman Award from the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) in recognition of Rahall's legislative efforts in support of the men and women serving in the National Guard.
"I stand before you today humbled, humbled by such a prestigious honor. You can look high and low and search the annals of history and consult the fortunes of the future, and you will not find a better definition of citizenship than the dedicated men and women of the Guard," said Rahall, a senior Member of the House Military Veterans Caucus and the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus. "I accept this award and will display it in West Virginia's Third District Congressional Office to remind all who will see it of the Guard's commitment to keep our country strong from the home front to the front lines of battle."
Rahall received the Truman Award during Veterans' Visibility Day recognition ceremonies in the House Chamber at the West Virginia State Capitol. In accepting the most distinguished recognition conferred upon an individual by the National Guard Association, Rahall called on all Americans to consider the high standard of citizenship set by Members of the National Guard, and remember the debt the county owes our veterans.
"Where would we be, where would this nation be, without the service and sacrifice of the citizen soldier," said Rahall. "I accept this award to constantly remind me and all who look upon it that our job and commitment to the Guard and our armed forces is not finished by giving out muster pay. We owe our veterans more than we can ever repay them, and that is one fight that we can never cease waging."
Rahall has been a longstanding champion of the National Guard, advocating legislation not only to provide the training, equipment, and resources the Guard needs to fulfill its dual role serving West Virginia and the Nation, but also championing family support services and advocacy programs for service members as they transition back to civilian life. In 2011, Rahall was successful in securing passage of legislation to provide a seat for the National Guard on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ensuring that the Guard would have input at the highest levels of the military echelon when it comes to their mission readiness.