AMVETS to Honor Commissioner Henry with Silver Helmet Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2015) The venerable Veterans Service Organization AMVETS will present its highest award, the Silver Helmet Rehabilitation Award, to Heather French Henry, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.

“To say I am honored seems inadequate,” Commissioner Henry said. “I am truly humbled, and will accept this award on behalf of all Kentucky Veterans, especially our Vietnam Veterans and Women Veterans.”
2015 is both Kentucky’s Year of the Woman Veteran, and part of the national Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration.

AMVETS representative Bill Kilgore nominated Commissioner Henry for the Silver Helmet in recognition for her service to veterans.

As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, Commissioner Henry has been an outspoken advocate for our military veterans nationwide. During her year of service as Miss America Commissioner Henry chose to highlight the needs of our nation’s homeless veterans in her tour entitled “Honoring our Forgotten Heroes: Our Nation’s Homeless Veterans.” As her year progressed she developed a full-scale platform that encompassed not only homelessness among veterans but healthcare, housing, disability and benefits. Working alongside many of the nation’s foremost experts on veterans’ healthcare issues such as Linda Boone of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Pete Dougherty, National Director of Homeless Veterans Initiatives for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Service Organizations and members of Congress and Senate, Commissioner Henry became an integral part of the a national movement to change the face of veterans’ healthcare and outreach. She worked closely with many members of Congress and Senate to establish groundbreaking legislation to create new opportunities for community outreach in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Former Congressman Lane Evans and the late Senator Paul Wellstone honored Commissioner Henry by naming this comprehensive bill the Heather French Henry Homeless Veterans Assistance Act.

During the last 15 years Commissioner Henry has continued her efforts nationwide by establishing the Heather French Foundation for Veterans, Inc. focusing on community outreach to help better educate young and old alike about programs available to assist veterans and to help increase patriotism in younger generations. Her efforts have been recognized by Veterans Service Organizations nationwide with the Americanism Award – VFW, The Martha Washington Spirit Award – The Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and The Patriot Award – USA Cares, to name a few.

Commissioner Henry was honored with the AMVETS Auxiliary Humanitarian Award in 2000 during her service as Miss America. Other notable recipients have been Danny Kaye, John McCain, Nancy Reagan and Roslyn Carter.
The AMVETS Silver Helmet, first awarded in 1954, is known as the “Veterans Oscar.” It will be presented to Commissioner Henry on Friday, March 4, 2016, during the AMVETS Spring National Executive Committee Meeting in Alexandria, VA. Other 2016 recipients will be Gary Maddock (Americanism), John Scocos (Civil Servant), Jeff Miller (Congressional Service), Montel Williams (Defense) and Beryl Love (AMVET of the Year.) Past recipients include former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown and Max Cleland.

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