Press Release: 2013 Statesmanship Award Dinner

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2013                                       CONTACT: Dava Guerin (202) 222-0972

SENATORS RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN) AND SAM NUNN (D-GA) RECEIVE 2013 STATESMANSHIP AWARD FROM U.S. ASSOCIATION OF FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

Gary Sinise and the Gary Sinise Foundation, and Margery Kraus, CEO of APCO Worldwide, were recognized for their dedication to public service and philanthropy

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 20–—Many current and former Members of Congress can proudly point to bipartisan efforts that have strengthened the United States over the years. While there have been many examples of cooperation across the aisle, Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn exemplify how working together can not only help strengthen our national security, but also set an example of  representative democracy at its finest.

Tonight the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) presented Senators Lugar and Nunn with its “Statesmanship Award,” at the non-profit organization’s 2013 “Salute to Service: Statesmanship Awards Dinner.”  The mission of FMC is to promote bipartisanship and civility among the nation’s elected officials, help emerging democracies around the world, and inspire the next generation of leaders through programs that highlight the power of service.

Senator Lugar was the Republican leader of the Foreign Relations Committee, and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. Senator Nunn served in the Senate from 1972-1996 and is currently Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.  Pioneers in reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, they forged a bipartisanship partnership by creating  the Nunn-Lugar Program which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet Republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. To date, the program has deactivated more than 7,600 nuclear warheads.

“I am honored to receive the statesmanship award from the Association of Former Members of Congress with my partner and friend, Sam Nunn,” said Senator Lugar, president of the Lugar Center.  “I share the goal of FMC in promoting bipartisanship and civility, and want to congratulate the other distinguished honorees.”

Award-winning actor, humanitarian and Presidential Citizens Medal recipient Gary Sinise received the “Civic Statesmanship Award” for his dedication to serving America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need through the Gary Sinise Foundation, as well as Operation International Children, which he co-founded in 2004. In addition to his foundation work, he has made hundreds of personal appearances with his Lt. Dan Band worldwide, raising spirits and boosting the morale of hundreds of thousands of troops and their families.

In accepting the Civic Statesmanship Award Sinise said: “I am very proud to receive this award from the Former Members of Congress Association, and to be invited here tonight. I was inspired to serve going back to the early 1980’s.  I have had the opportunity to visit war zones and bases all over the world, and believe we should all be grateful for our service members who give it all every day to defend our freedom. I dedicate this award to them, and want to congratulate and thank the other award winners for their exemplary service.”

Margery Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide, received the “Corporate Statesmanship Award” for her strong commitment to corporate philanthropy, providing the leadership that instills a corporate culture of giving back, encouraging employees to participate in numerous service projects. She also helped create the Close Up Foundation, an organization that is familiar to former and current Congressmen, for how it empowers young people from all walks of life to become responsible and engaged citizens.

Commenting on the award, Kraus said: “I feel fortunate to receive this award in recognition of my work at Close Up and APCO which enables me to pursue the common good and achieve favorable results, hopefully to make this a better world.”

Joining the winners at the event were many wounded warriors and their families, as well as other service members and veterans who are part of Disabled Sports/USA Warfighter Sports Project, for whom FMC raises funds via its annual charity golf tournament.

According to Peter Weichlein, CEO of FMC, tonight’s winners exemplify the spirit of service and the power of partnership. “We couldn’t have chosen more worthy individuals to receive our annual awards than Senators Lugar and Nunn, Gary Sinise and the Gary Sinise Foundation, and Margery Kraus. Each, in their own way, has raised the bar for volunteerism and bipartisanship. We congratulate them all for their lifetime of service.   Like our former Members of Congress, they also exemplify the good that can come from people with different ideas and points of view, working together to find common ground.”

Lou Frey (R-FL), past president of FMC, the dinner chairman, and founder of the Lou Frey Institute, is no stranger to public service. “You know most people, sadly, have the impression that Members of Congress are just in it for the power and glory. The opposite is true. Most of us got into this business to make a difference and serve the American people.”

FMC president, Connie Morella (R-MD), believes that Former Members of Congress can play an important role in inspiring young people to serve and guiding leaders from emerging democracies to learn from our representative form of government.

“In my work with FMC for many years, I have seen first-hand how our members can literally change lives for the better. When we visit college campuses, meet with world leaders, or just volunteer time in many of our service projects, we can see tangible results. If we can show, through our mutual respect and civility, that we can agree to disagree, then that becomes a valuable life- lesson.”


FMC BACKGROUND: The mission of FMC is to promote public service and strengthen democracy via domestic and international programs. FMC seeks to improve the public’s understanding of the role of Congress as a unique institution, as well as the crucial importance of representative democracy as a system of government.  Former Members of Congress participate in many diverse pro-bono projects such as election monitoring abroad, outreach to high school and university students, and programs with current Members of Congress.