WASHINGTON, DC –Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP) is happy to announce that Tammy Duckworth has been awarded the organization’s Max Cleland Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, to be presented at the organization’s biennial conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21-23, honors an individual who has worked throughout his or her life serving the active duty/military family/veteran community.
Duckworth, 27, is an Iraq War veteran, former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and until recently, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She resigned her VA post last month, saying she plans to run for Congress from the new 8th Illinois District. Duckworth served in Iraq as a US Army helicopter pilot.
The reward is named for former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a recipient of the Silver and Bronze stars for valor in combat in the Vietnam War.
“The unwavering dedication that you demonstrated to your contemporary comrades during your own rehabilitative process and the invaluable work that you have done on behalf of those veterans who have served before you as well as the men and women who are now serving in our armed forces is both admirable and inspiring,” VMFP President Tom Howe and Executive Director Matt Cary told Duckworth.
“Your work in helping to found and fund the ‘Intrepid Foundation’ while still dealing with your own healing process is indicative of an unparalleled spirit of generosity, courage and commitment. The excellent programs you implemented as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs greatly improved the lives of Illinois veterans particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Howe and Cary also told her that, as an Assistant Secretary at the US Veterans Affairs Department, her personal commitment for the well-being of our nation’s 25 million military veterans was proudly recognized. “You worked to improve the delivery of healthcare and benefits and exhibited uncommon integrity in order to fulfill the sacred promise to our nation’s veterans that has significantly enhanced veterans’ lives; these actions are in keeping with VMFP’s mission,” they added.
Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserve in 1992, went to flight school and has been a member of the Illinois Army National Guard since 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a bachelor degree in political science and of George Washington University with a master’s degree in international affairs.
Veterans and Military Families for Progress remains committed to the mission of ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, active-duty service members and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation and public policy initiatives. VMFP is recognized among veteran advocate organizations by the V.A. and is made up of members from across the country, and across the breadth of rank and military services who served, are serving, or are members of families who have heeded the call to serve their country in the U.S. military.