With the National Commander’s Public Relations Award, presented during a luncheon at the Washington Conference to "an individual or organization for distinguished public service in the field of communications, in a manner which exemplifies or furthers Legion policies or programs and contributes to the preservation of the American way of life."
One form of "public service" is wartime journalism in its many forms, and since the award’s introduction in 1961, several war (and Cold War) correspondents have received it. 1962 winner Jess Gorkin, then editor of Parade, became the first Sunday-magazine editor allowed into the Soviet Union. 1972 winner Lowell Thomas covered the battlefield as early as World War I, and shot the footage that helped make T.E. Lawrence famous. 1988 winner La Prensa is a Nicaraguan newspaper then bold in its opposition to the Sandinistas (although no one from the staff made the trip to Washington for fear of reprisal). And 1994 winner Bill Mauldin brought World War II home for readers through his cartoons, as it happened.
The tradition continues today – this year’s winner, Bob Woodruff, is an ABC News correspondent wounded by an IED in 2006, while covering the Iraq War.Visit www.legion.org/prawards to read about all the winners.