Annual awards presented in Houston

National Recruiter of the Year: Edgar J. Johnson. A member of Samuel G. Cooke American Legion Post 267 in Columbus, Ga. Johnson recruited 724 new members into the organization.

Spirit of Service Award: U.S. Marine Sgt. Man Chan; U.S. Army Sgt. Edwin Garcia; U.S. Navy IT2 Komlan Agbagba; U.S. Coast Guard AMT2 Shawn Pugmire; and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Beau A. Vore.

Patriot Award: Samsung. A multinational electronics leader, Samsung received the award for endowing a $5 million educational scholarship fund to the Legion for administration to direct descendants of U.S. war veterans. It was a gesture of appreciation from Samsung to U.S. military veterans for coming to the aid of South Korea in its war against invading forces from China and North Korea.

Fourth Estate Awards (outstanding achievement in the field of journalism).

  • Print category: USA Today won for a second time.
  • Broadcast category: Hawaii’s KITV-TV won. The station brought closure to a long and dark phase of history with the production of a one-hour documentary on the life of Marianne Cope, recently canonized by the Vatican for her work on the Kalaupapa peninsula in the mid-1800s.
  • Internet category: Alex Quade. A freelance war correspondent, Quade won her second consecutive Fourth Estate Award for her video report, "Chinook Down," for the New York Times website. Her short documentary revealed the full story and human toll behind a WikiLeaks headline of a Chinook helicopter shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Afghanistan, killing all onboard. Quade was supposed to be on that helicopter. She instead reported firsthand on the firefight and recovery.

James V. Day "Good Guy" Award: George Foreman. The two-time heavyweight champion was praised by the Legion for his patriotism and his service to the community.

Distinguished Service Medal: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Since 1979, the Cheerleaders have made 75 USO tours to more than 200 locations worldwide and have conducted cheerleading classes for the children of military families. They also spend time supporting charities and visiting hospitals, including many VA facilities. The Distinguished Service Medal is the Legion’s highest honor.

National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Deputy Miste M. Strickland. Strickland is from Nash County Sheriff’s Office in Middlesex, N.C.

Firefighter of the Year: Deputy Chief Leslie Young. Young is from Mahoning Township Fire Department in Danville, Pa.

Employer of the Year Awards for Hiring Veterans: CIAN, Inc, in Peoria, Ill., Strategic & Homeland Defense Division in Colorado Springs, Colo., and L-3 Stratis in Fayetteville, N.C.

Employer of Older Workers Award: AARP Foundation in South Atlanta, Ga.

Homeless Veterans Outreach Award: Craig Tillman, American Legion Homeless Veterans Task Force chairman from Dearborn, Mich.

Local Veterans Employment of the Year: Bobby Bryant, Stillwater Workforce Center, Oklahoma.

Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists of the Year Award: Jerome A. Billups of Fargo, N.D.

Enhance the Lives of Disabled Persons Award: Precinct 2 Harris County in Highlands, Texas.

Employment Service Local Office Award: Ottawa One Stop Center in Ottawa, Ill.