BENS Eisenhower Award

BENS honors Jeh Johnson and Joseph Plumeri with the 2015 Eisenhower Award.

On November 2nd, BENS presented its 2015 Eisenhower Award to two extraordinary Americans in U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson and First Data Corporation Vice Chairman Joseph J. Plumeri. Johnson and Plumeri are embodiments of selfless leadership and pillars of Eisenhower’s definition of security as, “…the total product of our economic, intellectual, moral and military strength.” Johnson, who was sworn in as the fourth Secretary of Homeland Security in December 2013, was honored for his long career in public service which included, among other postings, serving as General Counsel for the Department of Defense. Plumeri, a stalwart in the financial industry for over four decades, was recognized for his committed advocacy on behalf of American veterans and their families. Under his leadership, First Data has supported programs such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and the Operation IMPACT Network of Champions.

Over 400 industry and security leaders from all over the nation attended the exclusive event honoring these remarkable leaders in New York City. The evening also provided recognition for Air Force Master Sergeant-select Robert Gutierrez. Gutierrez was recognized for his actions as a combat controller in Afghanistan where he is credited for saving nearly 30 American and Afghan servicemen on October 5, 2009 despite sustaining life threatening injuries. For his actions, Gutierrez was awarded the Air Force Cross - the second highest award for valor.

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In the spring, the Eisenhower Award was presented to Under Armour Founder and CEO, Kevin A. Plank and the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, General John R. Allen, USMC (Ret.). Plank, who founded Under Armour in 1996, built his company into a global brand with over $3 Billion in revenue and a company culture of giving back, particularly to those who served in uniform. Allen spent his entire adult life in service and continues to serve as the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL following his distinguished 37 year career in uniform.
The two were honored on April 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The evening was capped with further recognition for Vietnam-era veterans on the 50th anniversary of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War as well as recognition for Sergeant Bryan Anderson. Anderson received the Distinguished Service Cross for his valor while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2013. Photos from the event are below.

The BENS Eisenhower Award was first presented in 1986 on the 25th Anniversary of President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. Both public servants and private citizens have been selected by members of the BENS Board of Directors to receive the Award. Past recipients have included President Jimmy Carter; Secretaries of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice; Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates, William Perry, and William Cohen; Senators Richard Lugar, Sam Nunn, Carl Levin, John McCain and John Warner; Generals James Jones, John Abizaid, Chuck Boyd and Michael Hayden, as well as business leaders Thomas Watson, Jr., Tom Peters, Norm Augustine, Denis Bovin, Mary and David Boies, Fred Smith, Robert Rubin, Joe Regent, Josh Weston, and John Whitehead, among others.

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