Civilian Marksmanship Award Winner
The very last Civilian Marksmanship Award was presented on February 22, 2014 to American Legion Post 1992 member Paula Sarlls. The ceremony was conducted by Congressman Mike Coffman, USMC (R) and a luncheon held afterwards at the Red Lion hotel (who graciously provided a beautiful cake for the luncheon!). Shown in the photoare (L-R) State Senator Todd, Paula, Congressman Mike Coffman, and the CMP Representative – Scott Maddox along with the M1 Garand rifle she received as the award.
Paula is the President of the Women Marines Association CO Columbine-WM History Chapter (2002-present), Past National President of WMA (2005-2008), a Gold Star Wife, newly elected President of the Marine Memorial Association, Secretary of the Colorado Freedom Memorial, Chaplain for the Marine Corps League, past Secretary and current co-chair of the Membership Committee for United Veterans Committee of Colorado, past chair of the Aurora Veteran Affairs Commission, and much more…..She works tirelessly to help veterans and their families in Colorado.
She will be planning the Memorial Day and Veterans Day events at the Marine Memorial this year, the Marine Memorial 5K at Aurora Reservoir is September, and she is the originator of the Aurora Memorial Day Ceremony at the Aurora Municipal Center. Her service didn’t end when her tour of duty in the Marine Corps ended (1967-71). She is a SW Denver native and a proud Coloradoan! As one of 6 children (4 boys-2girls) she is the only one with military service and she served as an Air Controller at Quantico, VA. She also had a distinguished career with the VA, IRS, and 21 years with the US Customs Service.
She was widowed in 2009 when her husband of nearly 40 years died from Agent Orange cancer as a 100% disabled veteran. Her unending devotion to veterans isn’t done for recognition, none-the-less we thank her for all she does.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program, a Congressionally created nonprofit, would like to offer the Representative an opportunity to honor a district veteran with the Patriot Award:
In 2009, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) began a program to pay tribute to our nations’ veterans, sharing the lessons of their courage and sacrifice to young people across the country. The Patriot Award program honors a selected district veteran who has demonstrated valor in military service and a continued dedication to his or her fellow Americans after returning from service. By honoring a “hometown hero” the CMP hopes to demonstrate to youth that the ideals of previous generations can be found in their very neighborhoods. The program shows young people that the heroes they read about in their history books are, in reality, regular Americans who rose to the occasion—hopefully inspiring them to follow suit.
The Patriot Award is commemorated by the presentation of a beautiful antique M1 Garand rifle and certificate. The M1 Garand was an infantry man’s best friend in WWII, and along with Rosie the Riveter symbolizes American valor and courage. Typically a board member or representative of the CMP and the participating congressional member present the curio to the honoree. As far as the award event itself, it has been presented in just about every scenario you can imagine. Our goal is to honor a veteran in a way that takes as little effort from the congressional staff as possible. The CMP can handle the veteran selection, coordination with the venue, and creation/distribution of a press release after the event. If the local office would prefer to handle any of these steps on their own, that may also be arranged. In other scenarios the congressional member or senator’s staff have chosen the recipient (coordinating with the CMP), chosen the venue, and handled all the releases and details. It is our goal to create an event that is as both meaningful and worry free. Typically the events end up as a seamless coordination between CMP staff and senate/ congressional staff. Venues have varied from previously planned town hall meetings, to a private gathering at a public venue (like a city hall) with many family and friends invited- or a small gathering (in a congressional office). In each and every case the news media has enthusiastically covered the event.
The CMP is a Congressionally created patriotic organization that was originally founded by President Teddy Roosevelt and once a part of the United States Army itself. The CMP is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and air guns through gun safety training, marksmanship training, and competitions and youth air rifle competitions—like those in the Summer Olympics.
With every award we have presented there are always grateful family members and/or the veteran’s unit in attendance and rarely is there an event where there are not tears of gratitude shed. I look forward to visiting with you in more detail about the Patriot Program. Thanks for your help!