Spirit of Service award recipients honored during the Legion's 94th national convention in Indianapolis. (Photo by Tom Strattman)

Spirit of Service recipients honored

The American Legion presented the Spirit of Service award to representatives from the five armed services today during the organization’s 94th National Convention.

The recipients include U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua J. Boudreaux of the U.S. Army Public Health Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alvin Balthazar of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Juan M. Vallejomunoz of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris T. Pearson of the 579th Dental Squadron, joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington D.C.; and U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler J. Arrowood of the Maritime Force Protection Unit in Kings Bay, Ga.,

The Spirit of Service award was presented to each of the recipient’s for their volunteer efforts in their local communities. And as a recipient of the award, the men will receive a free one-year membership in The American Legion.

The awards were presented to the servicemembers by Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Marine Corps. Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly and American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong

"As wartime veterans, Legionnaires understand and embrace the concept of service to our communities, states and nation," Wong said. "Every one of these outstanding military members represents the true spirit of service — a steadfast commitment to serve their country and their fellow Americans."

To receive the Spirit of Service award, an individual must be an outstanding military professional and be actively involved in volunteer projects within their community during off-duty hours.

"Those in uniform today — from all branches of military service — active duty, reserves and National Guard members, often go out of their way to make a difference in the lives of so many others in the communities in which they live," Wong said. "Today, The American Legion honors these outstanding Americans who reflect the great spirit of service to others that the founders of our organization considered essential."

Wong too emphasized that these military men and women being honored fit the bill and are representatives of the thousands of their peers who make up the finest fighting force in the world.

"Each of them (award recipients) has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving others, a spirit of service that deserves the highest recognition The American Legion can provide."