The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation (NMOHMF) announced today that it has presented its “Mission Inspire Award” to the Woody Williams Foundation and WWE. The awards were presented by Medal of Honor recipient and NMOHMF Board Member Lieutenant Colonel William Swenson at the WrestleMania®Launch Party at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Woody Williams Foundation is the nonprofit organization founded by Hershel “Woody” Williams that provides services to Gold Star Families and builds Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments throughout the United States. Williams, the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, passed away on June 29th at the age of 98.
WWE is a partner of the NMOHMF and a longtime supporter of servicemembers and veterans. WWE first teamed-up with the NMOHMF last November on the eve of Veteran’s Day with a commitment to help shine a spotlight on the stories of the Medal of Honor and its recipients through their programming.
“I can think of no better organizations than the Woody Williams Foundation and WWE to receive our Mission Inspire Award, which was created to recognize those who go above and beyond in their work to raise awareness of the Medal and the values it represents,” said National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation President and CEO Chris Cassidy. “Woody was an extraordinary man, even by the standard set by Medal of Honor recipients. His work, which his organization continues, pays tribute to service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country by honoring and serving their families. Woody and his organization embody the values of the Medal of Honor.”
Cassidy continued: “WWE has been a valuable and committed partner of the NMOHMF, and they have fully embraced our mission of uniting the country by sharing the stories of Medal of Honor recipients. Through their commitment to recognizing Medal of Honor recipients and amplifying the values the Medal represents – courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship and patriotism – they have educated and inspired millions. These efforts are deserving of our commendation and our thanks.”
The Mission Inspire Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts made by communities, organizations, and individuals across the country to raise awareness of the Medal of Honor and honor the courageous individuals who have received the Medal, as well as all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Woody Williams Foundation, which was created to “honor, recognize and serve Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” is currently active in 179 communities across all 50 states and has installed 105 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments, with another 70 in progress. In addition to establishing Gold Star memorials, the organization also conducts Gold Star Families outreach across the country, provides Living Legacy scholarships to eligible Gold Star Children, and advocates for educational benefits for all Gold Star Family members. Following his death in June, Williams laid in honor at the U.S. Capitol on July 14. He was just the 7th American to lie in honor in the Capitol’s rotunda – a recognition Williams wanted not for himself, but as a way to pay tribute to all World War II Medal of Honor recipients.
In and outside the ring, WWE has been dedicated to telling the heroic stories behind the Medal of Honor. Last year, NMOHMF partnered with WWE to spotlight the service and sacrifice of America’s bravest heroes. Early in the partnership, WWE and NMOHMF shared the story of Woody Williams during WWE’s Tribute to the Troops program. WWE has honored and amplified the legacies of several veterans and Medal of Honor recipients, including Williams, Major General Pat Brady (ret.) and Captain Florent Groberg.
The Woody Williams Foundation and WWE are the second group of recipients to receive the Mission Inspire Award this year. The first was given in March to Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Representatives Marc Veasey (D-TX) and Blake Moore (R-UT), the four members of Congress who spearheaded the unanimous passage of historic legislation authorizing the creation of a National Medal of Honor Monument in Washington, DC.
About the Museum and Monument: The National Medal of Honor Museum, Monument and Leadership Institute will inspire Americans by honoring and preserving the history of the highest military decoration awarded for valor in combat. Serving as a national landmark – and located in America’s heartland in Arlington, Texas – the Museum will provide an unrivaled visitor experience and illustrate the historical thread of sacrifice, patriotism and courage that runs through all U.S. military service members, past and present. Beyond its state-of-the-art, interactive experiences, a critical part of the Museum’s mission will be to use the stories of Medal of Honor recipients to inspire their fellow Americans and motivate them to be their best selves.
A National Monument in Washington, D.C., will commemorate the service and sacrifice of the bravest and most decorated members of the U.S. Armed Forces. To be located in the nation’s capital, it will give all Americans the opportunity to reflect on the courage and patriotism that safeguard freedom and democracy.