Public Spirit Award

Public Spirit Award

Inspiring actions often inspire others to action. The American Legion Auxiliary’s prestigious Public Spirit Award recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations for contributions that positively impact communities through service to our military, veterans, and their families. Every year, we celebrate those who make a difference through a creative body of work or even a single generous act. Previous recipients have included U.S. presidents and government officials as well as regular citizens who saw a need and took action.

The recipient is selected by the American Legion Auxiliary national president and must be present to accept the award.

2023 Recipient

Click here to learn more about the 2023 recipients

Past Recipients

YearRecipientTitle/OrganizationALA National President
2023Team Long RoadU.S. Marine Corps veterans Justin “JD” LeHew, Coleman “Rocky” Kinzer, and Ray Shinohara set off on a cross country journey across America — from Boston, Mass., to Newport, Ore. — in support of America’s Missing and Killed In Action from all wars and conflicts, Gold Star Families, as well as highlight numerous other great charitable causes in support of helping and continuing to give back to others from all walks and challenges of life.Vickie Koutz
2022DTOM Ranch; Eagle’s Healing Nest; Janine DeGusto DoughertyRanch that provides equine therapy for veterans, among other services; Nonprofit that is committed to meeting the needs of veterans, servicemembers, and their families; Caregiver of her 96-year-old mother, Pauline, since 2007, and a general caregiver to her U.S. Navy veteran husband, Kevin.Kathy Daudistel
2021Sarah VerardoChildren’s book author: Hero at HomeNicole Clapp
2019Karen PenceSecond LadyKathy Dungan
2017The Bob Woodruff FoundationThe Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans.Mary E. Davis
2016Josh BleillNFL community spokesperson, Iraq War veteranSharon Conatser
2015Home Depot FoundationThe Home Depot, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, focuses its philanthropic efforts on improving the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families and aiding communities affected by natural disasters.Janet Jefford
2014Sarah Smiley and familyAuthor of Dinner with the SmileysNancy Brown-Park
2013Bonnie CarrollPresident and Founder of TAPSPeggy Thomas
2012Col. Jill Chambers (Ret.) and Michael PetersonThis Able Vet LLCKris Nelson
2011Ronald A. KatzOperation MendCarlene Ashworth
2010John WordinFounder, Ride 2 RecoveryRita Navarreté
2009Michele Cuppy; Morrill WorcesterPresident/CFO, Sew Much Comfort; Owner, Worcester Wreath CompanyDesireé Stoy
2008Karen Degner; Elizabeth Johnston; Marian Chirichella; Karen GrimordALA Member & Coordinator for Military Families Connect; ALA Member & President/Founder, Mothers of Military Support; ALA Member & Founder, Angels of Mercy; ALA Member & President/Founder, the Landstuhl Hospital Care ProjectJan Pulvermacher-Ryan
2007Kaziah HancockArtist/Founder, Project Compassion Soldier Fund, Inc.JoAnn Cronin
2006R. James Nicholson, on behalf of the Department of Veterans AffairsSecretary of Veterans AffairsCarol Van Kirk
2005Madeleine AlbrightFormer Secretary of StateSandi Dutton
2004Alma PowellAmerica’s Promise & Best Friends FoundationKatherine Morris
2003America's Spirit AwardRandy Fogle & John Ogle, Foremen at a Pennsylvania MineElsie Bailey
2002Pete TeahenAmerican Red Cross Volunteer, National Spokesperson & Funeral DirectorSherry McLaughlin
2001Jane PowellActressKristine West
2000Heather FrenchMiss AmericaElizabeth Stewart
1999James RedfordJames Redford Institute for Transplant AwarenessVirginia Hobbs
1998John SchneiderActorBarbara Kranig
1997Hillary Rodham ClintonFirst LadyPhyllis Bachman
1996Zachary & Elizabeth FisherFisher HouseSyble Deshotel
1995Ann LandersColumnistLinda Newsome
1994The Charcter Counts Coalition
Helen Holcomb
1993Stephen PeckFilm Maker & President of the Far From Home FoundationLinda Boone
1992Maj. Robin Higgins, USMC, on behalf of her husband, Marine Lt. Col. William "Rich" Higgins Higgins, USMCU.S. Marine CorpsMargaret Yankovich
1991Dr. Robert H. SchullerMinisterRuby Paul
1990Marie Guadalupe "Lupe" VasquezStanford University StudentBetty Calder
1989Rose KushnerFounder/Executive Director, The Breast Cancer Advisory Center (Kensington, MD)Alice Galka
1988James L. Roberts on behalf of the Citizens of Midland, TexasFire Chief of Midland, TexasPearl Behrend
1987Jeane J. KirkpatrickFormer AmbassadorEvelyn Starr
1986Kenneth WoodenFounder/Director, National Coalition for Children's JusticeJosie Melgard
1985Ray A. KrocFounder, McDonald's restaurantsHelen Gardner
1984Charles P. ShultzSecretary of StateAnna Gear
1983Caspar WeinbergerSecretary of DefenseJune Stolte