In 2009, the Major George A. Smith Memorial Fund established the HOOAH Award. As part of NCoC’s ongoing efforts to support and promote the importance of service in all its forms, this award is given annually at the National Conference. The HOOAH Award recognizes a veteran who defines citizenship through service to our country, both in uniform and beyond.

Major (Ret.) George A. Smith served his country for over 20 years as a career military officer. Eager to serve, Major Smith enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and quickly rose through the ranks. Major Smith fulfilled his dream as part of the 82nd Airborne and later commanded the Ranger’s Alpha Company. He completed many tours overseas, including peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Yemen, and Egypt. As part of the 7th infantry our of Fort Ord, he served in Just Cause, a military operation in Panama. Following his career or service in the military, Major Smith continued to serve his community through leadership positions from the European Congress of American Parents, Teachers, and Students to disaster response work with FEMA. Upon his passing in January 2009, he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The Major George A. Smith Memorial Fund was founded by his children Jennifer, David, Adam, and Chloe.

2022 HOOAH Award Winner

Josh Fryday

Serving in the cabinet of Governor Gavin Newsom, Josh currently leads the service, volunteer, and civic engagement efforts throughout California.  Josh served in the military as an Officer in the United States Navy (‘09-‘13) as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). He was stationed in the Office of Military Commissions, working on the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainee cases, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the closing of Guantanamo. He also served overseas in Yokosuka, Japan, where he augmented the Navy’s 7th Fleet’s Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief efforts during ‘Operation Tomodachi’ following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster.

2021 HOOAH Award Winner

Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

 As an Air Force pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Congressman was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, and he served in the Air Force Special Operations. Today, he continues to serve in the Air National Guard while in Congress, with the current rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Recently, Congressman Kinzinger joined the January 6th Select Committee, one of 2 Republicans to do so. Adam was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2010 and currently represents Illinois’ 16th District. 

Previous HOOAH Award Recipients

The 2020 HOOAH Award Recipient was Ken Harbaugh. Ken is a former US Navy Pilot, Congressional candidate, past president of Team Rubicon Global, and co-founder of Mission Continues – I can not think of a better HOOAH award winner. Ken has been a steadfast community and veteran leader.  Currently, Ken is the host of the popular podcast – Burn the Boats.

The 2019 HOOAH Award Recipient was Michael Washington. Mike is a 30-year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department, and a veteran from the Marine Corps. Today, his mission is to assist veterans and First Responders to identify, understand, and react to the forces of stress as a means to combating the forces of PTSD and suicide.

The 2018 HOOAH Award recipient was Brenda Sue Fulton. Fulton, who graduated from West Point in 1980, was a member of the first USMA class to admit women. She was honorably discharged as a Captain before becoming an integral part of the advocacy to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and to fight a ban on transgender service members. Fulton currently serves as the Chair and Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. She is the first openly-gay member of a New Jersey state agency.

The 2017 HOOAH Award recipient was Eli Williamson. He is the co-founder of Leave No Veteran Behind, a non-profit focused on employment opportunities for veterans. Williamson served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a noncommissioned officer in the US Army, a member of Psychological Operations (PSYOP), and as an Arabic linguist working on outreach to foreign civilian communities supporting special operations forces.

The 2016 HOOAH Award recipient was William McNulty cofounder of Team Rubicon and the founder of Team Rubicon Global, the internationally acclaimed veteran-led disaster response organization. He is a U.S. Marine who served in both the infantry and intelligence. He has worked in support of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council’s Iraq Threat Finance Cell. 

The 2015 HOOAH Award recipient was Becky Kanis Margiotta. Becky was featured on 60 Minutes for her 100,000 Homes Campaign – an initiative to find and house 100,000 of the most long-term and medically vulnerable homeless people in America by July 2014. Before that, she commanded two Special Operations companies in the US Army. In 2013, Becky was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change and Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

The 2014 HOOAH Award recipient was Ret. General Stanley McChrystal. Gen. McChrystal is a transformational leader with a remarkable record of achievement and referred to as “one of America’s greatest warriors” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Currently a partner at McChrystal Group, General McChrystal co-founded the company in January 2011 to deliver innovative leadership solutions to American businesses in order to help them transform and succeed in challenging and dynamic environments

The 2013 HOOAH Award recipient was the Honorable Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard is one of the first two female combat veterans, first Hindu and first female of Samoan ancestry to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress.

The 2012 HOOAH Award recipient was Chris Marvin. Chris was medically retired from the Army as a Captain and now serves as the Director of Civilian-Military Partnerships for ServiceNation and as Managing Director of the “Got Your 6” campaign.

The 2011 HOOAH Award recipient was Eric Hilleman. Eric is a Sergeant in the United States Marines and works for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

The 2010 HOOAH Award recipient was Derek Blumke. Derek is a Technical Sergeant in the Air National Guard, an Afghanistan war veteran, and co-founder and past president of Student Veterans of America.

The 2009 HOOAH Award recipient was Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL officer and CEO and Founder of The Mission Continues, an organization that helps wounded and disabled veterans continue service in their civilian life.

Advisory Board for the HOOAH Award

David Smith 
Derek Blumke
John Bridgeland
Patrick Campbell
Maya Enista Smith
Chris Marvin
Michael Weiser
Becky Margiotta
Gail Kitch
Pamela Egan