Local Women Veteran Network Honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

The Citizen Honors Are Awarded For Acts of Heroism and Selfless Service

March 25, 2020

Washington, DC – The Congressional Medal of Honor Society has announced their 2020 Citizen Honors Award Honorees, commemorating National Medal Of Honor Day. The Women Veteran Social Justice Network, founded by Sixth District resident BriGette McCoy, is being honored with the Community Service Hero Award for their work to identify, connect, and empower women veterans in their professional and personal lives. 

“We recognize and truly believe that women’s stories have the power to transform the world. BriGette has continued to serve as a pillar in our community, and I thank her for her strength in advocating for change and sharing her story,” said Rep. Lucy McBath. “Our veterans, and especially our women veterans, need our support and the support of one another. This is a wonderful and well-deserved honor for WVSJN. I’m incredibly proud to see BriGette receive this Citizen Honor, and I pray others will take inspiration from her story and join to continue this work.”

“We are delighted Women Veteran Social Justice Network's philanthropy and impact is being recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for their 2020 Citizen Honors Award Community Service as an Honoree,” said BriGette McCoy, Founder of the WVSJN. “Our mission and contributions to the non-profit sector started nearly 12 years ago using online technology to connect women veteran, similar to what our nation's citizens are doing today in our crisis. It was very important to create an organization to be a connector of women veterans to their veteran status, identities, and peers while also connecting to the civilian community and resources so that women veteran would be welcomed and honored at the same hero level as our male counterparts. I appreciate Congresswoman McBath for working to make things better for veterans. We are hopeful this recognition will inspire others to honor women veterans at this level and join our cause to selfless service.”

Each year, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society conducts a nationwide search to select individual in four categories and one organization to receive their Citizen Honors Awards. The recipients, six individuals and one organization, are evaluated based on the values embodied in the Medal of Honor: courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism.

The awards ceremony for this year’s Honorees has been put on hold due to the current national health crisis.  However, today is National Medal of Honor Day, and the selfless actions of these individuals need to be recognized.  The Congressional Medal of Honor Society continues to encourage, support, and honor the award recipients and will honor them at a later date. 

The 2020 Congressional Medal of Honor Citizen Honors Honorees are:

Single Act of Heroism Awards

Riley Howell of Waynesville, NC, selected for his courageous act when he shielded students from a gunman during an incident at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. Riley Howell did not survive the attack, but he is attributed with saving the lives of many students.

Keanon Lowe of Portland, OR, selected for his courageous act when he disarmed a student with a loaded shotgun during an incident at Parkrose High school in Portland Oregon. Mr. Lowe is attributed with saving the lives of the students and faculty of Parkrose High school.

Young Hero Awards

Christian Garcia of Santa Fe, TX, selected for his courageous act when he sprang into action when a gunman opened fire on first period art classes at Santa Fe High School. Christian did not survive the attack but is hailed a hero for his actions.

Cody Runyon of Rochester, MN pulled an eleven-year-old fellow swimmer from the bottom of a pool after the younger boy had sunk and become unresponsive. Cody noticed the danger and reacted quickly, preventing further tragedy. The victim credits Cody and the adult for saving his life.

Service Act Award

Michael Jernigan of North Richland Hills, TX, for his lifetime of selfless service to improve the lives of blind and impaired veterans. Michael co-founded “Paws for Patriots” at South Eastern Guide Dogs, which provides guide dogs and service animals to veterans.

Youth Service Award

Zachary Brooks of Summit, NJ for his advocacy of those affected by autism. Zachary founded “Artfully Abled”, an art event showcasing the abilities of those with developmental disabilities.

Community Service Hero Award

Women Veteran Social Justice Network of Atlanta, GA, selected for their work to identify, connect and empower women veterans through professional and personal connections.

For more information, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website