WHAT: DAV (Disabled American Veterans) today announced the names of nine dedicated veterans’ advocates being honored for their outstanding efforts and achievements on behalf of the men and women who served. Federal executives, senators, representatives, congressional staffers and other advocates were considered for the DAV Advocacy Awards that recognize commitment and excellence in service to veterans, their families and survivors.

WHY: “The recipients of this year’s advocacy awards have demonstrated what it means to keep the promise to the men and women who served,” said DAV National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster. “They each possess an unmatched dedication to fighting for the best interests of veterans and their families. It is a great honor to present these awards that recognize their critical contributions in the areas of veterans’ health care, benefits, policy and legislation.”

WHO: Veterans’ Champion Award:
The Honorable Johnny Isakson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for his commitment to the men and women who served, to include introducing and guiding critical legislation for veterans through Congress, such as VA health care reform, mental health care access and appeals modernization. Only the third recipient of this top honor, this year’s award also recognizes the senator’s life-long dedication to service, including an enlistment in the Georgia Air National Guard, holding elected office in Georgia’s House and Senate and three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Outstanding Federal Executive of the Year:
Mr. Thomas Murphy, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, for his exemplary leadership and service to ill and injured veterans while serving as executive in charge, and overseeing 20,000 staff who are responsible for the delivery of essential non-medical benefits programs for veterans, including disability compensation, home loan guaranty and vocational rehabilitation.

Outstanding Senate Legislator of the Year:
The Honorable Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Senate, for her strong leadership and willingness to work across party lines to engage stakeholders on combatting the opioid epidemic with a commitment to ensuring ill and injured veterans have personalized care and safe alternatives for pain management. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has consistently fought for adequate funding for veterans programs and to expand the veterans’ caregiver program.

Outstanding House Legislator of the Year:
The Honorable Tim Walz, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for his two decades of service in the Army National Guard and leadership on critical legislation impacting his fellow veterans, including the Clay Hunt SAV Act, a law that works to eliminate veteran suicide.

DAV Special Recognition Awards: Dr. Elizabeth M. Yano, Director and Senior Research Career Scientist, for her outstanding commitment to improving the quality of health care for our nation’s women veterans through comprehensive gender-focused research at the HSR&D Center for the Study of Health Innovation, Implementation & Policy, VA Greater LA Healthcare System.

 Ms. Dahlia M. Melendrez, General Counsel, for her unrelenting commitment to improving the lives of countless veterans and their families through her work over many years on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs focusing on many of DAV’s key legislative priorities including VA health care reform, VA caregiver program expansion and improving health care services for women veterans.

Mr. Raymond Kelley, Minority Staff Director, for his significant contributions throughout the years as an advocate for his fellow veterans working for veterans service organizations and as a policymaker on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs focusing on VA health care reform and improvement of veterans benefits delivery.

Dr. Frances Murphy, for her invaluable counsel on several DAV legislative campaigns and special initiatives, including the groundbreaking report Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home, and for her lifelong commitment to serving her fellow veterans as a neurologist, medical researcher, military physician and during her two decade tenure at the VA.

Mr. Tom Philpott, for his commitment to tackling complex issues impacting service members and fellow veterans, and sharing them with millions over three decades as a syndicated columnist, journalist and freelance writer. His weekly news column, Military Update, has served as an invaluable resource for nearly a quarter of a century to help improve the lives of military veterans.

WHEN: Honorees will be presented their awards beginning this week, as well as during the DAV Mid-Winter Conference that begins on February 25th. To cover a presentation, please contact Charity Edgar.


About DAV:
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than one million members was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932.