Media release: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., was awarded the inaugural ‘John S. McCain Service to Country Award’ from Voices for National Service on Tuesday in recognition of his life-long devotion to citizen and public service and for his exceptional leadership in advancing national service to solve community problems. Video footage of Isakson’s acceptance is available online here.
The award was presented to Isakson by Ben Domenech, who is the son-in law of U.S. Sen. John McCain, for whom the award was named, at the 16th annual ‘Friends of National Service Awards.’ Domenech is married to McCain’s daughter, Meghan.
“John McCain’s life and work left an indelible mark on history, and I learned a lot from him,” said Isakson as he accepted the award. “He was ferocious in his commitment to his life, to his friends, to his country and to others who needed help. He meant a lot to me, and I’m incredibly honored to have earned this prestigious award named in his honor from an organization that is so highly respected. To have a member of the McCain family, Ben Domenech, present this special award was particularly meaningful to me. We are in this together for the betterment of mankind. We are better people when we give a little bit of ourselves to others.”
Said AnnMaura Connolly, president of Voices for National Service: “Senator Isakson firmly believes that service is an obligation of citizenship, and that by giving back to your country, Americans can learn something about themselves, each other, and the world around them. Like his friend and colleague, the late Senator John McCain, Senator Isakson has worked to protect, expand and improve service opportunities at home and abroad.”
Isakson earned the award for his work as a champion of both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. The organization pointed to his 2011 sponsorship of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act to provide better security and protection measures for Peace Corps volunteers. In 2018, Isakson also worked on the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018, which built on these reforms to further protect Peace Corps volunteers. Both measures were enacted into law.
Also in 2018, Isakson introduced legislation with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., to exclude the AmeriCorps education award from federal income tax and help ensure that the post-service scholarship remains a valuable and compelling incentive for young people to serve.
Additionally, the organization recognized that Isakson’s “commitment to making sure America takes care of those who dedicate their lives to serving our country extends to veterans too.” Voices for National Service highlighted his work as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee, where “he is working to improve the quality of care at [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] healthcare facilities, protect veterans’ benefits, and provide access to education and training to help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.”
Also honored during the evening with other awards were distinguished leaders in government, business, and journalism from across the nation. The full list of 2019 award winners is available here.