One of The American Legion's great friends in Congress and a strong advocate for veterans, Stump received the Distinguished Service Medal in 2002. Though he was too ill to attend the national convention, he sent a message of gratitude via videotape.

In his tribute, National Commander Richard J. Santos said Stump "has three strong characteristics among his core values: hard work, perseverance and civil service. Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a love of God and country, and a passion for the law and our constitution."

A 26-year member of the House, from 1977 to 2003, Stump is one of only a few representatives to have served as chairman of both the Veterans Affairs Committee (1995 to 2001) and the Armed Services Committee (2001 to 2003). He consistently supported military and veteran spending, as well as a flag-protection amendment and construction of the National World War II Memorial.

During World War II, Stump served three years aboard USS Tulagi. He entered politics in his home state of Arizona, where he served in the state House of Representatives from 1959 to 1967 and the state Senate from 1967 to 1976. The following year, he moved to Washington.

Initially a Democrat, Stump switched to the Republican Party in 1981, where he stayed until retiring from the U.S. House in 2003. Considered a quiet man, Stump maintained a trim staff in his Washington office, where he sometimes answered his own phone and personally opened his mail.

Stump died at 76, just five months after leaving Congress. The Bob Stump VA Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz., is named for him.

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