Medal of Honor Recipients Announce 2018 Citizen Heroes

Arlington, Va., March 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For Immediate Distribution

Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation

Contact: Eugenia Gardner, 240-361-8195 or Mike Caldwell, 703-469-1861

ARLINGTON, Va., March 1, 2018The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced today its 2018 Citizen Honors Award recipients. The five heroes were chosen by the Recipients of the Medal of Honor from a field of 20 finalists in the nationwide program.

Since 2008, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has selected U.S. citizens and community organizations for their acts of courage and selfless service which epitomize the American spirit. In commemoration of National Medal of Honor Day, the Medal of Honor Recipients will recognize these extraordinary American citizens at a March 23 ceremony, made possible by The Boeing Company, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.

“The five recipients earned the Citizen Honors Award because their courageous actions and selfless service embody the spirit of the Medal of Honor and its values of courage and sacrifice, commitment and integrity, citizenship and patriotism.” said Drew D. Dix, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Their stories are amazing and inspiring, and my fellow Recipients and I are proud to recognize them for the positive difference they make in their communities.”

The 2018 Citizen Honors recipients are: 

  • Robert Engle of La Vergne, Tennessee, selected for his courageous act on September 23, 2017, when he subdued a gunman inside Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. Engle’s actions prevented further loss of life in the deadly shooting.

  • Matthew Cobos of Trabuco Canyon, California, selected for his courageous act on October 1, 2017, when he shielded and provided life-saving medical treatment to concertgoers injured in a mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada.

  • Kimberly Scofi of Atlanta, Georgia, selected for her selfless service in support of veterans through her work with United Military Care and other veterans-based service organizations.
  • Virgil Smith of Hitchcock, Texas, selected for the Young Hero Award for his heroism in assisting several neighbors stranded during Hurricane Harvey. Before emergency professionals arrived, Smith used an air mattress to rescue 17 neighbors trapped in their homes due to high water.

  • Veterans Heritage Project of Phoenix, Arizona, selected for the Community Service Hero Award for its innovative after-school course for middle and high school students that provides an enriching educational experience by connecting them with US military veterans in a nationally renowned oral history and publication program. As a result, thousands of veterans’ oral histories have been donated to the Library of Congress.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society congratulates all of this year's finalists:  

      Kevin Chitwood, Louisville, Kentucky

      Macy Coulter, Grand Junction, Colorado

      Marcus Eliason, Flagstaff, Arizona

      Charlie Finlayson, Eagle, Idaho

      Lisa Klein, Oakland, California

      Marlina Rayne Lakey, Anderson, Indiana

      Arjun Mainali, Hicksville, New York

      Jim McIngvale, Houston, Texas

      Diane Starzak, Oakpark, California

      Stephen Willeford, Sutherland Springs, Texas

      Taylor Winston, Las Vegas, Nevada

      Blue Ridge Honor Flight, Asheville, North Carolina

      Gold Star Teen Adventures, Fayetteville, North Carolina

      Operation Gratitude, Chatsworth, California

      The Mission Continues, St Louis, Missouri

"You can see from the recipients and the finalists there are great heroes serving in communities all across America,” said Dix. “We hope the Citizen Honors Awards inspire all Americans to consider how they can serve and help build a stronger Nation."

For more information about the Citizen Honors Award or the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation website at

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by the Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor Recipients, to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal, to promote patriotism and love of country, and to inspire our youth to become worthy and dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 71 living Recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees because the Medal is only awarded for action against a hostile force in time of war.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation:

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation was founded in 1999 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal. Through character development, scholarship and citizen recognition programs based on the values embodied in the Medal — courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism — the Foundation teaches all citizens that they can make a difference in the lives of others. The Foundation also supports the important work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with Tax ID #25-1828488, the Foundation carries a rating of 4/4 stars for fiscal management, accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, America's premiere nonprofit evaluator.






A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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