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Congressional Medal Society Honors New Life Member for Bone Marrow Activism
By Electa Geer
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society recently announced that bone marrow activist; Washingtonian of the Year; and New Life church (Gaithersburg, Md.) member Rocky Twyman has been selected as the Maryland state finalist for the prestigious new Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, the nation’s most prestigious civilian awards. He and 50 other finalists from across the country were honored at a recent celebrity-driven gala at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society presented the Above & Beyond broadcast from our nations capital on National Medal of Honor Day. This star-studded, primetime special combined the dignity of a Kennedy Center Honors, the patriotic spirit of a Bob Hope USO Special, and the elegance and anticipation of the Academy Awards. In addition to the dignitaries and celebrities who attended the gala (President George H.W. Bush, General Colin L. Powell (Ret.), actor and film director Gary Sinise, singer Toby Keith, Aerosmith group member Joe Perry, etc.), the four living United States presidents and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were invited to join Medal of Honor recipients, celebrities, athletes, and musicians alike. Hosted by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and orchestrated by Louis J. Horvitz, the Emmy Award winning director of the Academy Awards, the audience was entertained by powerful documentary films, celebrity presenters, live musical performances—on stage as well as from remote corners around the world, wherever American Troops are stationed.
Twyman hopes to carry his bone marrow drives to next year’s Oscars ceremony. Two Hollywood stars who have been stricken by bone marrow diseases are the late Roy Schieder and Ryan O’Neal. Rapper Nelly’s sister and baseball great Rod Carew ‘s daughter died also died while searching for a bone marrow match. Twyman also led in the efforts to find a lifesaving match for former D.C. first lady Effi Barry, who passed away in September 2007.
Since 1992, Twyman has helped to recruit nearly 14,000 minorities into the national bone marrow registry. Currently, only 8 percent of the national bone marrow registry is minority. This low percentage makes finding lifesaving matches for minorities suffering with bone marrow cancers, leukemia, and Lupus extremely difficult. His intense volunteerism for this project has taken him all over the country and to South Africa.
Above & Beyond was broadcast to the nation on MSNBC, which is carried in more than 80 million American homes, and internationally on the American Forces Network, where it was seen around the world by the men and women of the American Armed Forces and their families.
The broadcast culminated with the climactic announcement of the three Above & Beyond Citizen Honorees. Nominated by their fellow citizens, then selected by Medal of Honor recipients themselves, these selfless individuals had their inspiring stories broadcast to the nation before being called to the stage to be recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
For more information about the award, visit www.aboveandbeyond365.com.
General Colin L. Powell (Ret.) congratulates Rocky Twyman after the Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony in Washington, D.C.