Tuesday night, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund celebrated the appointment of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors and presented its Distinguished Service Award to Harley-Davidson Inc. at a Congressional reception at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC.
Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd welcomed more than a hundred guests in attendance and thanked the members of Congress who have been supporters of the Memorial for many years. Mr. Floyd then introduced Memorial Fund Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Jon Adler, who announced the appointment of Mr. Ashcroft to Board Chairman.
Mr. Ashcroft, who is serving in a voluntary capacity as Chairman, has been a longtime supporter of the Memorial Fund, having assisted the organization for the past decade in its campaign to build the National Law Enforcement Museum. Mr. Ashcroft has served on the Museum's National Honorary Campaign Committee for many years and helped launch the capital campaign in 2007. The Museum is now under construction in Washington, DC, and is scheduled to open in 2018.
Upon being announced as the new Chairman, Mr. Ashcroft said, "The most important thing about the rule of law is not the law itself, it's what the rule of law safeguards. It safeguards the single defining characteristic of the American culture that has made us the special place that people look to from around the world," he said. "That core value, part of the DNA of what it means to be an American, frankly what it means to be a human being, according to our understanding, is the core value of liberty."
Mr. Ashcroft continued, "It is beyond my comprehension that… law enforcement officers are the subject of assassinations. It is unacceptable. And I don't think there's any way for us to honor the fallen like stopping the falling. We must stop the scourge and slaughter of our law enforcement officials around the country. The fallen have fallen in order to preserve the rule of law, and we must sustain it or we repudiate the sacrifice that they made."
The Memorial Fund's Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually to an individual or organization that has made an exceptional and lasting contribution to the law enforcement profession. Harley-Davidson Inc. has been a longtime supporter of law enforcement and the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. The American motorcycle manufacturer was founded in Milwaukee, WI, in 1903 and was one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. For each of the past 10 years, Harley-Davidson Inc. has donated a motorcycle for the National Police Week raffle that benefits the Memorial Fund. To date, the raffle has helped raise more than $626,000.
Receiving the award on behalf of Harley-Davidson Inc. was Edward Moreland, Director of Government Affairs, who said, "Harley-Davidson couldn't be more proud of our relationship with [the Memorial Fund] than we are right now. We have a long history of supporting police in many different facets around the world. We're now in 40 countries and 4,000 police units around the world," he said. "We have the unique distinction as a company of having a company mission of fulfilling dreams of personal freedom. We may fulfill dreams of personal freedom, but the [law enforcement officers at the reception] and their friends protect that personal freedom. And for that, we thank you."
Each year, the Memorial Fund's Board of Directors selects award winners who embody leadership and service, and whose contributions have had a positive impact on the law enforcement profession. The organization's other annual awards were presented on May 12, 2016, at the annual Chairman's Dinner. Its Lifetime Achievement Award went to retired Philadelphia (PA) Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and the Excellence in Media Award was given to the CBS TV show "Blue Bloods."
More information about the awards and prior winners can be found on the Memorial Fund's website at www.LawMemorial.org.