Two men who have devoted their lives to the country and community were honored Thursday at the second annual Jimmie Dyess Symposium.
Former U.S. Rep. Douglas Barnard Jr. and retired U.S. Army Col. Bruce Crandall were given the Jimmie Dyess Award during the ceremony at the Augusta Museum of History.
The award was created to recognize both military valor and a dedication to service that emulates the life of Marine Lt. Col. Jimmie Dyess, said retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Perry Smith.
Smith said, “Our goal here is to perpetuate the legacy of Jimmie Dyess,” who was twice honored for heroism, receiving a Carnegie Medal in 1929 for saving two swimmers off the coast of South Carolina, and having been posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in combat during World War II.
Smith said Crandall was selected for the Dyess Award because he, too, is a Medal of Honor recipient – awarded for his efforts as an Army helicopter pilot to resupply U.S. troops and retrieve the wounded under heavy fire in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley in 1965. Smith said Crandall’s heroism was important, but dedication to his community after the war also weighed heavily in the decision to give him a Dyess Award.
Smith said each year, the goal will be to honor Medal of Honor winners who have continued a life of service and some of those who have performed extraordinary service as civilians, such as Barnard.
Although he also served in World War II, it was Barnard’s long life in the public realm that made him an ideal recipient for the Dyess Award, Smith said.
“With Doug it was an easy decision,” said Smith of Barnard, who is nearing his 90th birthday. “He hasn’t stopped.”
Among his many accomplishments are serving as executive secretary to Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, as a member of the Georgia Board of Transportation and as an eight-term U.S. congressman. More recently, Barnard has been instrumental in forming the Community Foundation of the CSRA and establishing a wounded warrior support program in Augusta.
“It really has been my honor to have the privilege to serve my community, the state of Georgia and our nation,” Barnard said.