RIVERSIDE – Airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines who receive awards from their superiors for outstanding service can now expect the same recognition from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
In a unanimous vote, the board today established the Outstanding Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine of the Year program.
”It’s good to recognize people who are honored by their service branch,” said Supervisor Marion Ashley, who introduced the proposal.
The board in December established the Military Veterans Recognition Act, under which county residents awarded medals for bravery or other acts of distinction while serving in the U.S. military are presented with certificates of praise from the county.
The new program will differ in that any member of the armed forces recognized by his or her unit commander as the serviceman or woman of the year will qualify to receive a county award.
According to Ashley, the county’s effort will operate as a ”companion award program” active at any military installation in the region, including Camp Pendleton, Fort Irwin, Twentynine Palms, March Air Reserve Base and the Norco Naval Surface Warfare Center. National Guard personnel will also qualify.
Ashley said recognition ceremonies may be scheduled at the outset of board meetings or at other appropriate venues, where ”hundreds of service members, community leaders and dignitaries” can gather.
The program is expected to be implemented by fall. Ashley said members of the board can bestow awards, as well as county CEO Jay Orr, assistant executive officers and county Military Affairs Commissioner Tom Freeman.