In recognition of his strong support for national service, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will receive the inaugural John S. McCain Service to Country Award from Voices for National Service, a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions who work to ensure Americans of all ages can serve and volunteer in their community.
The award is being presented to Senator Isakson in recognition of his life-long devotion to country through citizen and public service and for exceptional leadership in advancing national service to solve community problems. It will be formally presented to him by Cindy McCain, who is coming to Washington, D.C. tomorrow, Feb. 12, to participate in the 16th Annual Friends of National Service Awards.
Senator Isakson joins a bipartisan group of distinguished leaders in government, business, and journalism from across the nation being honored, including Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Jack Reed (D-RI), Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and First Lady Valerie Sununu, and Mark Donovan, President of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“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,” said Ann Maura Connolly, President, Voices for National Service. “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.”
“For his efforts to build bipartisan support for national service programs and for the individuals who voluntarily chose to devote a year or more of their lives to service, Voices for National Service is proud to present Senator Johnny Isakson with the inaugural John S. McCain Service to Country Award.”
“John McCain’s life and work left an indelible mark on history, and I’m incredibly honored to have earned this prestigious award named in his honor from an organization that is so highly respected by so many,” said Senator Isakson. “To have Mrs. Cindy McCain present this special award is particularly meaningful for me. It is my privilege to serve, and I can hope that I’ve made a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Senator Isakson is a champion of both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps and in 2011, he sponsored the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act to provide better security and protection measures for Peace Corps volunteers. In 2018, Senator Isakson introduced legislation with Senator Michael Bennet to exclude the AmeriCorps education award from federal income tax. The Isakson-Bennet bill will ensure that the post-service scholarship remains a valuable and compelling incentive for young people to serve.
Senator Isakson’s commitment to making sure America takes care of those who dedicate their lives to serving our country extends to veterans too. As chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, he is working to improve the quality of care at VA healthcare facilities, protect veterans’ benefits, and provide access to education and training to help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.
In communities across the country, national service members of all ages and backgrounds provide critical services to fulfill unmet needs. National service members tutor and mentor struggling students, help fight the opioid epidemic, provide job training and other services to returning veterans, preserve the nation’s parks and public lands, offer disaster relief and recovery assistance after natural disasters and support independent living for seniors and Americans with disabilities. For every federal dollar invested in national service, there are returns to society of nearly four dollars in terms of higher earnings, increased output and other community-wide benefits.
Congress created the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees national service programs such as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, to be a public-private partnership that invests limited federal dollars to leverage substantial private investment to improve lives and communities. In 2015, CNCS and its grantees generated $1.26 billion in outside resources from private businesses, foundations, and other sources, an amount exceeding the federal appropriation. Furthermore, a recent survey of AmeriCorps alumni found that eight out of 10 alumni say AmeriCorps benefited and advanced their career path, and that AmeriCorps alumni are more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher than the average American adult.
The 16th Annual Friends of National Service Awards is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, CSX, The Corps Network and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.