Who was the first White House figure to receive the National Commander’s Public Relations Award?

Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, better known as Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson. The former First Lady received the award – "presented 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" – at the 1975 Washington Conference, where the award is presented each year at the National Commander’s Luncheon.

Many of the previous recipients had been in the journalism or entertainment fields, but Johnson received hers for her efforts toward the cleanup and beautification of American highways during her time in the White House. The Legion also presented Johnson with a $500 check to help develop a Bicentennial project – a memorial grove along the Potomac River for LBJ, who had died in 1973. Johnson herself died in 2007.

The Washington Conference takes place late each February in the nation’s capital. An announcement on the 2013 recipient of the National Commander’s Public Relations Award will be made prior to the luncheon. Click here to read about all the past recipients.