Logan R. Black Acceptance Speech

2013 Philip Pistilli Silver Veteran’s Medal

Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation

May 8, 2013, Imperial Ballroom, Marriott Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri

Introduction by Jerry Fogel, Foundation Director and Master of Ceremonies

Each year it is an honor to recognize a distinguished veteran or an individual currently serving our country with the Philip Pistilli Silver Veteran’s Medal.  Phil was the President of our Foundation, the nation’s pre-eminent hotelier, and a proud combat infantry veteran of World War II in the South Pacific where he was severely wounded.

To present the medal this year I am honored to introduce the Deputy Commanding General, Army National Guard, Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Brigadier General Victor J. Braden.

Presentation by General Braden

The Foundation’s mission is to promote the qualities of good citizenship, patriotism, public service and courage.  Logan Black demonstrated those qualities while he was in the military and demonstrates those qualities now.  I’d like to present the award to Logan and also to Diego.

[Awards presented to Logan R. Black, former U.S. Army combat engineer and now a student at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and to Diego, Logan’s bomb-sniffing yellow Labrador retriever, who together sought out improvised explosive devices during their tour of duty in Iraq.]

Acceptance by Logan R. Black, Sergeant, U.S. Army (2004-2007)

I am humbled, thankful and truly honored to be here today.  I would like to thank the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation for this profound honor.

The Foundation espouses the characteristics of good citizenship, public service and courage, and these are the qualities that I experienced firsthand in the areas where we had the most success in Iraq.  Because of Diego’s unique capabilities, any unit in the Al Anbar Province was able to request our service, and as a result we were able to work with combat teams from all four branches of the military, as well as Iraqi Army, police and special operations.

We had missions in the Green Zone, Fallujah, Haditha, Ramadi, and small hamlets throughout the country.  As a result, I was able to view a much larger area of operations than most.  Our greatest success came where we were good citizens, and where we acted in service to the local community, and where individual soldiers had the courage to leave that community better than when they joined it.

I experienced the vast complexities of operating in a combat zone.  I will always hold to a foundational truth that despite the hardships and difficulties of service in a foreign land or even those in our own home communities, if we approach the challenges we encounter with a mindset of being of service, of being good neighbors, of holding ourselves to the courage that burns within all of us, we can and will have a positive and lasting effect in those communities.

Again, I want to thank the Foundation from the bottom of my heart.  This is not just a day where Diego’s and my service is recognized.  It is a day where we are all reminded of the great virtues within each and every one of us, and I thank you.