HOUSTON – The nation's largest organization of wartime veterans presented its prestigious 2013 Distinguished Service Medal to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on Wednesday morning at The American Legion's National Convention.
National Commander James E. Koutz of The American Legion praised the cheerleaders' dedication to community service and support for the U.S. military.
"Since 1979 the cheerleaders have made 75 USO tours to more than 200 locations worldwide and have conducted cheerleading classes for the children of military families," Koutz said. "When not performing at football games or traveling overseas, they spend time supporting charities and visiting hospitals, including many VA facilities. They have also given their support to the Salvation Army, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Association for Hearing Impaired Children, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, nursing homes and children's homes."
During Wednesday's presentation before thousands of American Legion Convention delegates, Koutz said, "If the Dallas Cowboys are America's Team, our next guests can be appropriately called America's Cheerleaders. Not because of what they do on the football field but because of how they conduct themselves away from it."
Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Anderson and DCC Director Kelli Finglass accepted the award on behalf of the entire organization.
"It is an honor to join such a respected group of recipients of the American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal," Anderson said. "During their USO Tours, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have always strived to bring a touch of home to the men and women of our Armed Forces serving abroad. It is just a small thank you for the enormous sacrifices our service men, women and their families make to protect our freedom."
The Distinguished Service Medal is The American Legion's highest award. Previous recipients include Presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell and former Sen. Richard Lugar.