A U.S. Army colonel, who was severely wounded in Iraq, received The American Legion's 2011 Patriot Award today in recognition of his dedicated service.Col. Gregory D. Gadson, director of the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program, lost both legs to above-the-knee amputations and suffered severe nerve damage in his right arm due to a roadside bomb that detonated while he was in Baghdad in 2007. He remained on active-duty and served as an inspiration to the 2008 Superbowl Champion New York Giants, who awarded him a Superbowl ring and game balls from pivotal moments in their play-off run."Your message of pride, poise and teamwork continues to resonate among the many audiences who have heard you speak. While the serious wounds that you incurred would have caused many others to dwell on their hardships, you chose to inspire rather than retire," American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster said in the award's citation. "As the director of the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program, you continue to serve your country and your comrades."The award was presented during proceedings of the 93rd American Legion National Convention being held here this week. "I am truly honored and humbled to receive such a distinguished award, the Patriot Award," Gadson told the audience, which consisted of thousands of Legion delegates, members of the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion. "I can't think of a better word that epitomizes what The American Legion stands for than ‘patriotism.' You set the standard for what patriotism means in America."Gadson was honored just prior to President Obama addressing the annual business gathering of the 2.4 million-member Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization.

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