AUGUSTA, Ga. — Five people were honored Thursday for their service within the military or the community, but two of those recipients came as a surprise.
Receiving the Jimmie Dyess Distinguished American Award, as scheduled, were retired Army Lt. Col. Alfred Rascon and Augusta natives Ann Boardman and T. Richard “Dick” Daniel, who served in both the Army and National Guard before retiring as a colonel.
Before the fourth annual Jimmie Dyess Symposium ended at the Augusta Museum of History, however, retired Army Brig. Gen. Jeff Foley interrupted the program and honored the award’s founder, Perry Smith, and his wife Connor.
Smith is a retired Air Force major general, former military analyst for NBC, author and Augusta community leader. His wife, Connor, is the daughter of Dyess, the award’s namesake.
“Whenever you see Perry doing wonderful things in this community for the last 20 years, have you not always seen Connor?” Foley asked the crowd. “Isn’t this a wonderful representative of what right looks like?”
Foley, the former commander of Fort Gordon, also credited Perry Smith with spreading awareness of Dyess through his written work.
The symposium was created to recognize Dyess’ courage as both a citizen and Marine officer by identifying those who have shown a similar valor through the military or by making civic contributions.
Dyess lived in North Augusta and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for combat bravery in World War II. He also earned the Carnegie Medal for saving two swimmers off the coast of South Carolina in 1929.
During the ceremony, Rascon, Daniel and Boardman spoke briefly to the crowd.
In 2000, Rascon was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage as a medic in the Vietnam War, during which he was seriously wounded as he rescued injured soldiers. He recalled being given his last rites by three chaplains before being airlifted to safety.
Both Rascon and Daniel spoke of the camaraderie and respect they had for their fellow soldiers.
Since retiring from the military, Daniel has participated with the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Exchange Club, Richmond County Hospital Authority and First National Bank & Trust of Augusta.
Boardman, who has been involved in multiple local civic organizations such as Child Enrichment, Augusta Golden Harvest Food Bank and Sacred Heart Cultural Center, urged those in the audience to volunteer at area charities.
“We’ve just got so many opportunities here to make a wonderful, wonderful city if we all pull together,” she said.
Boardman and Daniel were given silver medal of honor coins, while Rascon received a picture set of the Augusta National Golf Club.