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131st Bomb Wing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans among honored with Harry S. Truman Public Service Award

131st Bomb Wing members deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan wars were among the military honored this year with the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from the City of Independence. Accepting the award for the 131st was Col. Greg Champagne, 131st Bomb Wing Commander (center right). Representing deployed members and the Missouri Air National Guard are (l to r) Master Sgt. Ken Prenger, Senior Master Sgt. Bob Weber, both of 131st Maintenance Group, and Brig Gen. John D. Owen, Director Missouri National Guard Joint Staff.  The ceremony was held on the steps of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, May 8.  (Courtesy Photo)

131st Bomb Wing members deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan wars were among the military honored this year with the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from the City of Independence. Accepting the award for the 131st was Col. Greg Champagne, 131st Bomb Wing Commander (center right). Representing deployed members and the Missouri Air National Guard are (l to r) Master Sgt. Ken Prenger, Senior Master Sgt. Bob Weber, both of 131st Maintenance Group, and Brig Gen. John D. Owen, Director Missouri National Guard Joint Staff. The ceremony was held on the steps of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, May 8. (Courtesy Photo)

SAINT LOUIS, Mo -- The 2012 Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service was presented to representatives from the United States military branches to honor veterans who have served during the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Among the honorees were members of the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.

The ceremony was held Tuesday, May 8 on the steps of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence. Approximately 300 people attended the ceremony and reception, which was held following the ceremony.

Col. Greg Champagne, 131st Bomb Wing Commander, accepted the award on behalf of all wing members who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Senior Master Sgt. Bob Weber and Master Sgt. Ken Prenger, both of the 131st Maintenance Group, represented Wing deployed members.

The Harry S. Truman Public Service Award Commission makes the selection and presents an award annually to an outstanding public servant who best typifies and possesses the qualities of dedication, industry, ability, honesty, and integrity that distinguished Harry S. Truman in his years of public service.

The public service and sacrifices of the members of the United States armed forces during the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan was an important factor in the selection of a representative group instead of an individual for this year's award, according to the City of Independence.

"(The event) was truly a great day in Independence! What an honor and a pleasure it was to honor all of you and the many men and women you represented." said Kim Osborne, representative for Independence Mayor Don B. Reimal "President Truman would have been proud.

Thank you for joining us on our most famous citizen's 128th birthday and for your part in making the Truman Award Ceremony such a special and memorable event. We are very proud of our military and congratulate you on this most well deserved award."

The Harry S. Truman Public Service Award is the highest honor bestowed by the City of Independence on a civilian. The Truman statuette was presented for the first time in 1974 to former United States secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger. Among those previously honored include Astronaut/Senator John Glenn, former President Gerald R. Ford, former Senator Jean Carnahan, Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan (posthumously), and former United States secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright.