By J.D. LeipoldMay 31, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- During a Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, May 25, two civilians were recognized with "Outstanding Civilian Service Awards," for their tireless and unwavering support to Soldiers and their families. The award is the third highest public service honor the Army can bestow upon a civilian.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, host of the event, recognized both Kathy Roth-Douquet and Chef Robert Irvine for their "unwavering commitment to those who serve."
Roth-Douquet was recognized for her work as chief executive officer and president of Blue Star Families. That organization provides programs and resources to help military families meet the unique challenges they face wherever stationed in the U.S. and abroad.
"Just as importantly, she connects military families to other military families in new communities and makes transitions more seamless and much less isolated," Milley said, adding that she also advocates for the military on a variety of TV programs.
"She ensures the voice of the military family is heard and that our nation continues to remember the sacrifices and the commitment of military service members and their families," Milley said.
Under Roth-Douquet's leadership, more than $7 million has been raised to support military families and some 32,000 books have made it into the hands of military children.
The second recipient was chef, restauranteur and TV personality Robert Irvine. He stars in such television programs as "Restaurant: Impossible" and "Dinner: Impossible." British-born Irvine honed his culinary skills while serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
"Now that he's an American, he travels where U.S. troops serve across the world ... and into combat zones, where he provides support and entertainment," Milley said. "He founded the Robert Irvine Foundation to help support our military and our families through awareness and connecting our military to those in the communities that support them.
Milley also said the chef is a proponent of the Army's "Performance Triad," which focuses on the importance of nutrition, sleep, physical activity and the readiness and resiliency Soldiers.
"Tonight, we've honored two incredible people who exemplify the phrase 'selfless service,'" Milley said, before pinning the ribbons and medals on each recipient and presenting each with framed citations.
"Their steadfast commitment to all service members has been unwavering for many years," he said. "They both reach out for (a) simple, yet profound reason ... because they love those who serve and because they want to make a true difference for all our Soldiers and their families who sacrifice so much."
Following the tattoo, Irvine discussed the Army's Performance Triad, saying that he and his wife, a professional wrestler, truly believe and follow that activity, proper nutrition and sleep are what breeds great leaders, modern warfighters and better decision-makers.
"It's not something that's made up, it's proven," he said.
"It was very humbling to be recognized by Gen. Milley and by people who love what I do," Irvine said, adding that cooking is not his greatest love and "my wife will tell you it's not cooking, it's actually the military ... the cooking allows me to do what I do with the military and put a voice to it."
Roth-Douquet said she was so moved by the recognition that she nearly cried.
"It was so moving and beautiful, and it reminded me of all the best things about Blue Star Families and why it's such a gift to be able to serve," she said. "We want our military families to thrive and through our organization we can do that by connecting them to the resources they need and deserve.
"We like to say at Blue Star Families that if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a nation to support a military," she said. "So we need our good neighbors and when a service member is deployed, we know that what they care most about is knowing their families are okay. In many ways, that's our role."