Awards Presented at the 2019 Annual Veterans Day Honors Luncheon

Patriot of the Year

This award has been presented since the creation of the Mobile Bay Area Veterans Day Commission in 1986. The selection committee includes representatives of the Commission, Veterans Service Organizations and community leaders.Suggestions for individuals to be considered may be forwarded to any member of the Veterans Day Commission.


2019 Receipient

Vietnam Era Veterans

All military veterans of the era of the Vietnam War are recognized for their service between 1961 and 1974. A special medallion was struck in their honor and is distributed to all veterans of that time period. For those veterans unable to be presented with this recognition at the Honors Luncheon, arrangements to obtain it is handled by the local chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The Commissions thanks Airbus for underwriting this program.

Full Honors Luncheon biography is located here.





Veteran of the Year

Nominations for a local Veteran of the Year are solicited annually by the Veterans DSay Commission. Individuals and/or organizations my submit nominations. A nominee is considered for three years. If selected, the recipient may not be re-nominted.

    2019 Recipient

William H. Atkeison, USA (Veteran)

Assigned to Pacific Area Command Exchange (PACEX), Qui Nhon, Atkeison arrived in Vietnam April 1968 where he was NCOIC of the motor pool maintaining and repairing 75 vehicles used in warehousing and transferring of goods to the PXs in II Corps. On October 28, 1968, he was one of eleven soldiers who erected what is thought to be the first Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 

After returning statewide in April, 1969 and service with the Armor School at Ft. Knox, he was assigned to Germany and the 543rd Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company. Returning to his native state of Virginia, he joined Virginia National Guard serving as the Assistant Maintenance Platoon Sergeant; C Troop, 183rd Cavalry (Armored), 116th Infantry Brigade until his discharge from military service in 1986. Relocating to Mobile, Bill became active in veterans organizations. He helped to create the South Alabama Veterans Council, and was a charter member of Vietnam Veterans of American Chaper 701.

Early in 1997, he and fellow Vietnam veteran Richard Arnold began planning for a local memorial for Vietnam veterans. Located on the grounds of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, the Lower Alabama VIetnam Memorial was completed in November, 1999.


Full Honors Luncheon biography is located here.



Lists of Past Receipients and Criteria for Selection

Veterans of the Year 1997-2018                                            Patriots of the Year  1986-2018