By MOAA Staff
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of our annual awards. We honor lawmakers, businesses and nonprofits whose efforts improve the lives of servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Our 2020 recipients:
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) will each receive the 2020 Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award. Both lawmakers fought aggressively to repeal the “widows tax,” a financial penalty affecting more than 66,000 military survivors across the country. Their bipartisan efforts paid off, and President Donald Trump made the repeal official when he signed the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
Retired Navy Capt. Glen Diehl, minority staff lead for the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, and Caroline Wadhams, senior policy adviser to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will each receive the Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Service Award, which honors congressional staff members who have made significant contributions to the uniformed services community. Diehl worked to secure language in the FY2020 NDAA directing DoD to assess the impact of medical billet reductions on readiness and the beneficiaries. Wadhams helped secure language in the NDAA that ensures accountability requirements for the quality and safety of military family housing provided by Public-Private Partnerships.
Mission BBQ and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will each receive MOAA’s Distinguished Service Award. Mission BBQ, based in Glen Burnie, Md., prioritizes veteran hiring, donates often to military-related charities and is a prominent supporter of our nation’s first responders. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died saving others on Sept. 11, 2001. The foundation has raised more than $30 million to build mortgage-free smart homes for our most catastrophically injured servicemembers.
And Washington, D.C.’s TV station WUSA9, which is part of TEGNA Inc., will receive the Media Excellence Award for shining a light on the injustice of the widows tax through a series of news stories that showed the devastating loss and subsequent injustice these surviving spouses have faced.
“It has been a monumental year in advocating for servicemembers, veterans, and their families,” said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act repealed the widows tax, slowed plans to cut 18,000 medical billets and added safeguards for families living in military housing. These victories could not have been possible without the dedication of this year’s Congressional award recipients. And when it comes to supporting our troops and veterans on the homefront, the exceptional leadership at Mission BBQ and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is unrivaled.”