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'Above & Beyond Citizen Honors' Announces and Honors 2009 Recipients

One of the Highest Civilian Honors Given to Three Unsung Heroes by Medal of Honor Recipients

WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation today announced and nationally honored the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients for 2009. After a nationwide search and selection process, three Americans have been selected for their selflessness and indomitable courage.

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The three unsung heroes are:

Rick Rescorla of New Jersey, posthumously, for going above and beyond on September 11, 2001 by courageously rescuing his fellow citizens by ordering the evacuation of all 2,700 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. employees from the building and leading them to safety, and following, by re-entering the building to search for survivors.

David Bryan of Kansas City, Missouri, for going above and beyond by valiantly rescuing a motorist from a burning automobile on Eastbound I-70, one mile from the city of Higginsville, Missouri.

Jeremy Hernandez of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a part-time youth worker, for going above and beyond by saving the lives of 50 children as the school bus they were on was about to plunge into the Mississippi River following the I-35W Bridge Collapse.

The 2009 Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients were recognized by our nation's most honored heroes, the fewer than 100 living Medal of Honor recipients, in the shadow of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The Tomb of the Unknowns represents the epitome of courage, sacrifice and selflessness in service to our nation.

The Above & Beyond Citizen Honors ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 2 p.m. EDT. The primary sponsor of the 2008 Above & Beyond initiative is TriWest Healthcare Alliance, with additional support provided by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Lt. Gen. James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D., Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Robert Howard, the President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society; and, David J. McIntyre, Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board member and TriWest Healthcare Alliance President and CEO made formal remarks. More than thirty-five Medal of Honor recipients were in attendance.

"I, along with all of the living Medal of Honor recipients, salute Rick Rescorla, David Bryan and Jeremy Hernandez for their selfless acts," said Bruce Whitman, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. "As true heroes among us, these three remarkable recipients epitomize the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors concept of 'service above self' by representing the values of courage, sacrifice and selfless service. Their actions are an inspiration to Americans everywhere."

After considering all nominations, a panel of judges consisting exclusively of Medal of Honor recipients, selected one finalist from every state, plus the District of Columbia. From among these 51 finalists, the panel then selected three individuals to receive one of the highest civilian honors, Above & Beyond Citizen Honors. A complete list of the 51 finalists is available on the Above & Beyond website,

"The Above and Beyond Citizens Honors recipients are evidence that the ideals demonstrated on the battlefield by those who received the nation's highest distinction, the Medal of Honor, are as applicable to civilian life as they are to military life" said David J. McIntyre, Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board member and TriWest Healthcare Alliance President and CEO.

"It just doesn't get any better than this, our nation's quintessential heroes lifting up civilians who have also demonstrated exemplary selflessness, courage, love of country and service to their fellow man. Just imagine where our country would be were we all to live by such values," added McIntyre.


Created by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, the Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. To receive this rare honor, it must first be approved by the President of the United States and is then presented by the President in the name of the Congress on behalf of a grateful nation. Since the birth of our nation, over 40 million Americans have faced combat, yet fewer than 3,500 have received our nation's highest honor for combat -- the Medal of Honor.


The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is chartered by Congress, and regarded as the most exclusive organization in our country, as its membership is solely made up of living Medal of Honor recipients. Today there are less than 100 members, who come from all social classes, race and economic levels. They range in age from 58 to 99, and live in all areas of our Country. No amount of money, power or influence can buy one's rite of passage to this exclusive circle, and unlike almost any other organization, this group's members hope that there will be no more inductees. For more information, visit


The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to perpetuate the Medal of Honor's legacy of courage, sacrifice and patriotism. The Foundation supports the objectives, activities and programs of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and raises funds for initiatives such as Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, that promote awareness of what the Medal of Honor represents. For more information, visit


TriWest Healthcare Alliance partners with the Department of Defense to do "Whatever It Takes" to support the healthcare needs of 2.7 million members of America's military family. A Phoenix-based corporation, TriWest provides access to cost-effective, high-quality health care in the 21-state TRICARE West Region. Visit for more information.

SOURCE The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
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