(NETWORK IN) Indiana’s only living recipient of the nation’s highest honor is now the 13th person to receive the state’s highest honor:
Sammy Lee Davis earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for staving off a Vietcong assault with a howitzer and making two trips across a river to rescue three wounded platoonmates, all while ignoring his own injuries. He’s now the latest recipient of the Sachem Award. Then-Governor Mitch Daniels created the honor in 2005 to recognize extraordinary service to Indiana coupled with exemplary virtue.
Governor Eric Holcomb says it’s Davis’s work since the war that earned him the Sachem. Davis has been active in pursuing the return of the remains of troops killed in Vietnam, and in seeking compensation for veterans with health problems caused by the use of Agent Orange.
Legendary U-C-L-A basketball coach John Wooden was the first Sachem winner. Other honorees include former Notre Dame president Theodore Hesburgh, gospel singers Bill and Gloria Gaither, and Auschwitz survivor and CANDLES Holocaust museum founder Eva Kor.
Daniels said he wanted to underline the exclusiveness of the honor by not awarding it some years, but it’s been given every year except 2016.