The Distinguished American Award was presented to four honorees Thursday during the fifth annual Jimmie Dyess Symposium for their outstanding contributions to community and country.
Receiving the award at the event, held at the Augusta Museum of History, were Col. Harvey C. Barnum Jr., Susan E. Eisenhower and Brian and Neita Mulherin.
The award was created to honor the legacy of Marine Lt. Col. Jimmie Dyess, the only person to have received the nation’s two highest heroism awards – the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal.
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, a son-in-law of the award’s namesake, presented Eisenhower and the Mulherins with a silver Medal of Honor coin. Barnum received a picture set of Augusta National Golf Club.
The Mulherins were recognized for their volunteerism and advocacy for mental health patients and their families. Brian Mulherin served as director of personnel at East Central Regional Hospital for 31 years, and Neita Mulherin served as director of the Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia. Both have volunteered extensively in the community.
Barnum is a Medal of Honor recipient and a Marine. After his retirement, he served as principal director of drug enforcement policy in the office of the secretary of defense. He served as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for reserve affairs from 2001 to 2009. He also served as president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
“I’m so glad for our young people because they are seeing history,” he said of the Young Marines and cadets from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville who were among the attendees. He posed for photographs with many of them.
Eisenhower, a policy analyst, consultant and author, entertained the crowd with stories about her grandfather, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
She said her decision to make a career out of providing counsel on business development, public affairs and communications was largely influenced by her grandfather.
“I’ve devoted my life to trying to build bridges,” she said. “I just want to say it goes to show how important role models are. What a role model Jimmie Dyess was. What a role model this museum is, for all the kids who come here to learn about history.”