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    Major Michael Donahue Receives the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award

    Nov 4, 2015 | Lynchburg Va | Football

    As a part of the Military Appreciation celebration during Saturday’s football game, Liberty University will present the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award to recipient Major Michael Donahue, Liberty’s sixth recipient of the prestigious award.

    The George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award was named after George Rogers, a veteran of World War II, who served in the United States Army. While serving in the Philippines during WWII, Rogers was taken prisoner by the Japanese along with thousands of American and Philippine troops. They were forced to march about 75 miles in five days, known as the Bataan Death March. The troops were sent to POW camps where many died of starvation and abuse. Rogers was one of the very few survivors of the camps.

    In 2012, Rogers received recognition for his service by being awarded the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal. To honor this man and his tremendous sacrifices for our nation, Liberty University has named an award in Rogers’ honor. The George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award is given annually to a man or woman who served in the United States Armed Forces and went above the call of duty, displaying extraordinary heroism while serving.

    Donahue, this year’s recipient, served three combat tours of duty in the U.S. Army in which he was stationed in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. On Sept. 16, 2014 in Kabul Afghanistan, Donahue’s life was taken when a Taliban suicide bomber drove a vehicle laced with explosives into a foreign military convoy on the base. The attack also killed two other soldiers and wounded 13 civilians.

    Donahue, a native of Columbus, Ohio, enlisted in the Army in February 1996 and wqas commissioned through Officer Candidate School in April 2000. He arrived at Fort Bragg in July 2012, where he was assigned to the corps’ Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.

    Donahue is a respected Liberty alumnus and was an assistant professor of military science for Liberty’s Army ROTC program from August 2008 to July 2010, during which time he completed his master’s degree in education and his Ed.D.

    Donahue’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with one campaign start, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge.

    Donahue is survived by his wife, Sherri, and their children Victoria, Seamus and Bailey.

    Today marks the sixth year that Liberty University has honored a veteran with the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award.

    In 2011 the recipient of the award was Steve Bozeman of the United States Marine Corps. Bozeman enlisted in January 1966, at the age of 19. Following boot camp and infantry training, Bozeman was sent to Vietnam for two years, acting as both a helicopter mechanic and a machine door gunner.

    Bozeman was honorably discharged in 1970, but that did not stop him from continuing his support of fellow servicemen and veterans. Bozeman continued running to stay in shape, completing over 200 marathons since 1978. Bozeman has run over 77 ultra-marathons and five 100-milers. Bozeman also holds the North American record for Double Ironman Triathlons (4.8 miles swimming, 224 miles biking, 52.4 miles running), completing 15 of those races.

    Bozeman has served as chairperson to a number of memorial efforts for veterans, including bringing the Moving Wall to Lynchburg on Memorial Day in 2000, attracting over 20,000 visitors in four days. His continued works have not gone unnoticed, as he has been named both the Marine of the Year (1993) and the Vietnam Veteran of the Year (2000) for the state of Virginia.

    The 2012 recipient of the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award was Tim Lee, a Vietnam War veteran and evangelist. Lee, who lost both of his legs in 1971 during the Vietnam War, views his disability not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity to share God’s love through his evangelical ministry.

    On March 8, 1971 Lee and his team were sent on a mine sweep, with Lee taking point. Later that afternoon, Lee stepped on a sixty pound box mine. After 30 seconds of numbness, Lee had regained consciousness. During the next several months, thirteen major operations were performed. God had taken the legs that had carried Lee away from His will. Lee’s running finally ended, turning back to God for guidance.

    Lee has used his testimony as an explanation to not throw in the towel, but to recommit when the times are tough. Lee decided that he could get bitter, or get better.

    The 2013 recipient was Clebe McClary who was critically wounded during an enemy attack while in Vietnam on March 3, 1968. Despite his injuries, McClary continued to lead his men as they battled the enemy hand-to-hand before successfully withdrawing his unit from the hostile area. His devastating injuries included the loss of his left arm and left eye as well as a prognosis that he would never walk again. After two years in military hospitals, 30 major surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy, McClary walked out to begin a new life as an inspirational speaker.

    McClary received three Purple Hearts and was presented the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for bravery by the President of the United States. McClary has impacted hundreds of thousands of people in all 50 states and as many as 30 countries.

    Last year’s recipient was Oliver North who served 22 years as a Marine officer and his awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds in action.

    Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, North was the United States government’s counter-terrorism coordinator from 1983-86. North was involved in the planning of rescuing 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the capture of the terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi’s terror bases on Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August, 2002. President Ronald Reagan described North as “an American Hero”.

    Since 2001, North has been the host of “War Stories”, the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel. North has authored thirteen books, all of them New York Times best sellers.

    North serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and is the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation providing college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty.

    Thank you to all veterans and all current servicemen and women for the continued service to this country. The sacrifices made to provide our freedoms as Americans are greatly appreciated.