American Veterans (AMVETS) National Commander Gary Fry, right, presents Alfred Meadows with the Silver Helmet (known as the Veterans Oscar) in recognition of his selection as the American Veteran of the Year. Photo courtesy of American Veterans National Headquarters
Shelton resident Alfred Meadows has been named the American Veteran of the Year for 2012 by the American Veterans. He was presented the Silver Helmet American Veteran of the Year Award at the AMVETS' Spring National Executive Committee meeting March 17 in Herndon, Va.
The AMVETS Silver Helmet Award‚ a unique silver replica of the World War II GI helmet‚ has over the years acquired a well-deserved reputation as one of the most prestigious of all the awards given by veterans organizations and is now known as the “Veterans Oscar.”
The Silver Helmet was first presented at the AMVETS 10th Anniversary Dinner to World War II hero and diplomat General of the Army George C. Marshall‚ in recognition of his contributions as a soldier‚ statesman and American.
The AMVETS National Honors and Awards Committee‚ composed of all past national commanders and the last five “AMVET-of-the-Year” awardees‚ reviews the nominations and makes recommendations to the convention to determine the recipient.
The Silver Helmet Awards Banquet is held annually in conjunction with the AMVETS Spring National Executive Committee meeting.
In addition to AMVETS members, the audience each year includes cabinet members‚ members of Congress and military officials who come to pay tribute to the recipients of the award and AMVETS.
Meadows was also awarded a plaque which stated “Alfred Meadows is a proud U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart Medal recipient who has served in the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.
In addition to his volunteer service to AMVETS, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and other organizations, Meadows created Operation Gift Cards, which since 2005 has provided wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with more than 12,800 thank you kits containing more than $257,000 in department store gift certificates. The operation also helps to educate military patients on programs that sponsoring veterans’ organizations provide to help them and their families.
Through Operation Gift Cards for Our Wounded Troops, Meadows has helped to coordinate more than $193,000 in gift certificates and product donations from organizations and corporations to military charities assisting wounded warriors.
In recognition of his tireless and exceptional efforts assisting our wounded American veterans and their families, AMVETS is proud to present Alfred Meadows with the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award for AMVET of the Year.”
In his acceptance speech Meadows contributed the success of Operation Gift Cards to the dedication of the one hundred and 92 representatives (189 from Connecticut) of the 63 groups and individuals who have been cosponsors.
The representatives have made 81 visits to our wounded troops in military hospitals Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Md. while delivering more than $527,100 in PX gift cards, corporate donations, and wish list items.
Meadows also received recognition for creating a state-wide “Internet Post” for Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans with the primary mission of assisting and informing OEF/OIF/GWOT/OND veterans and their families.