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Governor Announces Annual Veterans' Advocacy Awards
Joe Sadlier of Ketchikan Among Recipients
Governor Honors Veterans At Wasilla Wall of Honor


November 13, 2002
Wednesday - 12:30 am

Wasilla - Marking Veterans Day for his last time as Governor, Tony Knowles stood before the Veterans' Wall of Honor on Monday, in full view of Mount POW-MIA, and honored the sacrifices of the men and women who served their country and the State of Alaska by serving in the military.

"As we reflect upon the names - really the lives of the men and women whose names are chiseled into the stone behind me here - we must never forget that our freedom has been


Joe Sadlier
Veterans Advocacy Award Recipient

Awards are given to those who go above and beyond in their volunteer efforts on behalf of veterans and veterans issues.
photo by Dick Kauffman 02/05/01
paid for and preserved with the blood of our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, and so many who came before them," Knowles said. "It should not be lost on any of us that this willing sacrifice is the binding fabric of our Republic. It is why we have so many freedoms - including the right to vote to freely elect our leaders."

Knowles recognized the Vietnam Veterans of America and Bill Kelder for organizing this year's event, and the contributions of Alaska Native veterans, women vets, and Canadian forces that served in Alaska during World War II. He thanked the work of Steve Sweet, director of the Vet Center and member of the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council, who served in the Navy, Air Force, and is still active as a Major in the Army National Guard. Knowles also remembered Major General Lars Johnson, who rebuilt the Alaska National Guard after World War II. Johnson died last week in Washington.

"Remarkable men and women of achievement have stories of sacrifice and service that need to be told and re-told. The telling of these stories gives recognition, thanks, and inspiration, " Knowles said. "Veterans' stories don't end when they muster out. Later in life as civilians, when the warrior spirit is reawakened, no one is more committed to a cause than the veteran. With a mission, no one is more motivated than a veteran to serve their community."

Knowles announced this year's Veterans Advocacy Awards that are given to those who go above and beyond in their volunteer efforts on behalf of veterans and veterans issues. This year's awards were given to Joe Sadlier of Ketchikan, Linda Boisseau of Fairbanks, and to the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club of Alaska Chapter D in Anchorage.

"Remarkable men and women of achievement have stories of sacrifice and service that need to be told and re-told. The telling of these stories gives recognition, thanks, and inspiration."...
Gov. Knowles

Joe Sadlier rejoined the Navy in his 70s by volunteering with other veterans to crew a World War II-era LST back to the United States where it will become a floating museum.

Linda Boisseau is a former Air Force combat nurse in Vietnam who now avidly advocates for veterans' needs in various veterans' organizations, raises funds for auxiliaries, and volunteers as a Service Officer.

The Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club is noted for their "Fallen Warrior" ceremony that they conduct numerous times every year on days of veterans' remembrance and recognition, and for conducting a special tribute to Vietnam veterans each year at the State Veterans Memorial at Byers Lake.

Knowles reflected on the accomplishments on behalf of Alaska's 65,000 veterans that occurred over the past eight years.

The state reestablished a Director of Veterans Affairs, gave veterans a permanent voice in state government through the Alaska Veterans' Advisory Council, and launched a one-stop web page that lists all veterans' benefits.

Knowles worked with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, to finish a two-decade old battle to address veteran housing needs. The Pioneers' and Veterans' Home bill highlighted the Governor's "2002 Year of the Veteran" package of legislation.

Knowles established an endowment to maintain veterans' memorials, and days of recognition for Women Veterans, former Prisoners of War, and those Missing in Action. He helped name a mountain near Wasilla as Mount POW-MIA, and awarded high school diplomas to almost 150 World War II veterans who left school early to fight the enemy and never completed their formal education.

For his many accomplishments to bring respect, recognition, and benefits to veterans, Knowles has received the VFW Silver Medal of Merit, the Legion Plaque of Appreciation, and the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award.

The governor appealed for full support for America's men and women in uniform as our nation mobilizes for war in the Middle East. "We pray for wise decisions by our President and other national and international leaders so that our cause is just, our sacrifice meritorious," Knowles said. He concluded his remarks by again remembering and thanking those who answered the call to serve their country.

"There are crucibles for each generation. Times when we're called to the fore to stand together, resolved, and determined," Knowles reflected. "Such has been the case since September 11, 2001. I believe that every Alaskan I've seen or met during the past 15 months has stood taller, with a sense of resilience, and readiness to do whatever we're called upon to do to keep our families safe, and our land secure. We've closed ranks, drawn together, and demonstrated a true sense of unity, compassion, and patriotism. We've kept the faith with so many who've done so much to get us to this place."



Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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