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Denzel Washington, already an honorary Sergeant Major in the US Army, is to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award at Hell’s Kitchen’s Intrepid Museum next month.
The two-time Academy Award winner will be honored on May 26 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s annual Salute to Freedom Gala. Washington will receive the 2022 Intrepid Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors individuals who demonstrate pioneering achievements in their field of endeavor, a lifetime of distinguished service furthering the nation, and a long-term commitment to supporting others.
The actor’s award follows appearances from Prince Harry and Jon Bon Jovi at last year’s Salute To Freedom Gala. Prince Harry was on hand to present the inaugural Intrepid Valor Awards to service members, veterans and military families living with the invisible wounds of war, while Bon Jovi was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his philanthropic work and his fundraising efforts (with Prince Harry) for The Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded veterans.
“There is no one more deserving of our 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award than Denzel Washington,” said Susan Marenoff-Zausner, president of the Intrepid Museum. “His dedication to honoring the military and serving the community, and his unreserved readiness to be of service on their behalf, is nothing short of inspiring. We are honored to recognize his outstanding efforts that exceed the call of duty.”
Washington’s Intrepid award follows him being recognized as an Honorary Sergeant Major. He is only the second civilian to be given the distinction — Elaine Rogers, the CEO of USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, received the award in 2018. Other recipients include retired Army generals such as General Frederick Krosen, the former Army vice chief of staff, and Army Ranger Hall of Fame recipient Lt General David Grange, Jr.
The honor was announced last October by Sgt Major of the Army Michael Grinston at the Annual Association of the US Army conference held at Intrepid. Speakers cited Washington’s work with the Fisher House Foundation — a global organization dedicated to building housing for military and veteran families while loved ones receive medical care — as evidence of his long-standing support, respect, and dedication to service people and veterans. Washington also received accolades for his work on A Journal for Jordan, an upcoming film also starring Michael B Jordan that follows the life story and journal of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, a soldier killed in Iraq who left behind a series of poignant letters for his son.
Dana Canedy — King’s fiancé who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of A Journal for Jordan (upon which the movie is based), emphasized the impact that Washington has made on her and so many others associated with the armed forces. “He’s an honorable, good man — Denzel, your heart, your talent, your kindness to me and to Jordan, and what you do on behalf of our military families has touched me and many others deeply. Thank you for being you. I’m proud of you,” she said.
“Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a soldier now,” said Denzel of his new title and his relationship with military families. “Call me when you need me — we all are free because of the sacrifices that you’ve made.”