March 14, 2003

AMVETS Honors Vargas With Silver Helmet Award

Former State Veterans Chief to Receive Civil Servant Award

WASHINGTON — AMVETS (American Veterans) announced that Jay R. Vargas, former state secretary of veterans affairs is to be honored with its Silver Helmet Civil Servant-of-the-Year Award.

Vargas, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from San Diego, will receive the national award at the organization’s 46th Silver Helmet Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 22 at the Sheraton Premiere hotel in Vienna, Va.

The AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, a unique silver replica of the World War II GI Helmets has acquired a well-deserved reputation over the years as the most prestigious of all veterans organizations awards and is now known as the “Veterans Oscar.” Prior Civil Servant Award recipients include North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole and Louisville Mayor David Armstrong.

The year’s award is being given to Vargas, who now serves as regional veteran liaison for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in recognition of his “long standing commitment” to the well-being of veterans on the state and national level. On the state level, his motto “Putting Veterans First” became the operating principle for the department which he oversaw from 1993-98. In his current position, Vargas continues to be a strong advocate for veterans through ongoing contact with organizations and government agencies in a six-state region that includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“We are extremely pleased to recognized this outstanding American,” AMVETS National Commander, W.G. “Bill” Kilgore said of Vargas. “His receipt of the Silver Helmet Award is well deserved, giving the dedication he has for serving others especially our veterans.”

A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedom secured by America’s Armed Forces, AMVETS (American Veterans) provides, not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation’s citizens. More information on AMVETS can be found at www.amvets.org.

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