Maui News

AKAKA RECEIVES VFW CONGRESSIONAL AWARD

March 18, 2009, 3:20 PM HST
* Updated March 19, 3:06 PM
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Akaka Receives VFW Congressional Award; Photo Courtesy Sen. Akaka's Office

Akaka Receives VFW Congressional Award; Photo Courtesy Sen. Akaka's Office

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka today was presented with the VFW Congressional Award. The VFW Congressional Award has been presented annually since 1964 to one member of the House or Senate for significant legislative contributions on behalf of veterans and military service personnel.

“This award is extremely important to the VFW,” said National Commander Glen M. Gardner Jr., a Vietnam veteran from Round Rock, Texas, “because it recognizes a champion in Congress who continues to fight for a strong and secure America, and for those who have worn the uniform.”

The award recognizes Akaka for his outstanding service to national defense, homeland security, and to veterans, service members and their families. Akaka is the second U.S. senator from Hawaii to receive the VFW Congressional Award. Fellow Sen. Daniel K. Inouye received his in 1987.

Akaka himself is a World War II veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers. The senator is the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management.

Akaka is credited with playing a pivotal role in ensuring the new 21st Century GI Bill became law, and is responsible for increases in VA funding, as well as marshaling through an array of bills to improve veterans programs, benefits and entitlements. He was also instrumental in defeating recent proposals that would have restricted a veteran’s ability to receive VA compensation for service-related injuries.

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“Our military, our veterans, and our families of past and present have no better friend in Congress than Senator Akaka,” said Gardner. “I am honored to present the prestigious VFW national award to him.”

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Past recipients include strong national security and veterans’ advocates, such as Mississippi’s Sen. John Stennis (D) and Rep. “Sonny” Montgomery (D), and South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond (R), among many others. Last year’s award went to Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas).

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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