Photo by Clay Lomneth

Oak Ridge Boys receive Patriot Award

The American Legion honored The Oak Ridge Boys with its Patriot Award Sept. 2 in Baltimore during the national convention. But after receiving the award, the Country Music Hall of Fame performers said the honor was all theirs.

“We are honored to stand with our American Legion,” band member Joe Bonsall said. “Every night, whenever we mention on our stage that we are now associated with The American Legion and with the work that they are doing for our returning veterans today – and what they have done for years – people respond in such a positive and wonderful way."

The Patriot Award is given to recognize great deeds and exemplary acts of service. The Oak Ridge Boys teamed up with The American Legion on a series of public-service announcements raising awareness and support for needs of U.S. military veterans, including better detection and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, help with the VA benefits process, and education and career opportunities for those who served our nation in uniform.

“By using their considerable talents to raise awareness and support for the needs of veterans and their families, The Oak Ridge Boys are an obvious choice for this prestigious honor,” American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said. “Duane Allen, Richard Sterban, Joe Bonsall and William Lee Golden are great Americans who have entertained people worldwide with their stirring hits and amazing record of success. Their blend of gospel, country and rock make The Oak Ridge Boys true American icons.”

Bonsall said the group’s work with the Legion helped an important mission. “A lot of veterans fall through the cracks these days,” he said. “But The American Legion has stepped up to the plate. You are doing something. That’s why The Oak Ridge Boys are honored to stand with you and with the work that you are doing.”