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Senator Harris Wofford, who helped establish both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, the award will recognize more than 10,000 individuals who have already chosen to serve their country at home and abroad through both programs, as well as the thousands more who make that same commitment in the future.
The Harris Wofford Joint Service Award will be available to individuals who have successfully completed both a full year of service in AmeriCorps, as well as service in Peace Corps or Peace Corps Response.
“Each year, thousands of Americans make the commitment to serve through AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. Our country needs their service now more than ever, and this award is just one way we can pay tribute to their contributions,” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of AmeriCorps. “Harris Wofford’s legacy is a reminder that one of our most powerful acts as citizens is in service to others, and the recipients of this award truly embody his legacy of service.”
“I am extremely proud to partner with AmeriCorps to celebrate the legacy of Harris Wofford while paying tribute to the many Americans who responded to his call to service by volunteering both at home and abroad through these extraordinary programs,” said Jody K. Olsen, director of the Peace Corps. “Our alumni strengthen communities across our nation—their service lasts a lifetime—and they are deserving of this special recognition.”
“Throughout his life, our father urged all of us to crack the atom of civic power – to unleash the energy and idealism of the American people to meet our pressing challenges through service,” said his son David Wofford on behalf of the Wofford family. “He loved to see people of every age and background answer this call to serve by joining Peace Corps or AmeriCorps to advance the common good. We are grateful to AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps for honoring our father. But, more importantly, for recognizing ‘big citizens’ who’ve served their country both at home and abroad to build stronger communities and a better world. We hope this award will inspire more Americans to serve and put us closer to achieving his goal of making service the common expectation and experience of every American.”
A key player in the formation of both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, Wofford served as the Special Representative to Africa, Director of Operations in Ethiopia, and later, as a Peace Corps Associate Director. As a Senator from Pennsylvania, Wofford helped pass the 1993 National and Community Service Trust Act which created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service, where he later served as agency CEO for five years. Working with the late Rep. John Lewis, he also helped pass legislation to make the Martin Luther King federal holiday a national day of service.