October 3, 2002

October 3, 2002 | News Releases on Political Thought

Heritage Foundation Awards Helms "Highest Honor" for Service to U.S.

The Heritage Foundation today awarded Sen. Jesse Helms its highest honor, the Clare Boothe Luce Award, praising him as a "dedicated, unflinching and articulate advocate of conservative policy and principle."

"As the award's citation says, Sen. Helms is, 'one tough cookie,'" noted Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner. "But because of that toughness, our country is a much better place. Giving him this award today is our way of saying thank you from Heritage, the conservative movement and many throughout the nation."

Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., (left) receives the Clare Boothe Luce Award from Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner (right). The award is the think tank's highest honor. With them is Helms' wife, Dorothy.
(for high-definition, full-size version, click on photo)

Feulner presented the think tank's award to Sen. Helms in a meeting on Capitol Hill. The North Carolina Republican had been expected to receive the award last spring at Heritage's bi-annual President's Club meeting. But the 80-year-old senator underwent heart surgery just days before the event, forcing a postponement of the presentation.

Heritage's Board of Trustees established the Clare Boothe Luce Award in 1991 to honor those who exemplify conservative ideals. Luce was a Heritage trustee, congresswoman, ambassador, playwright, presidential adviser and editor. She died in 1987.

The 12 previous recipients of the award are: National Review founder and author William F. Buckley Jr.; Colorado brewer and Heritage founder Joseph Coors; the late Shelby Cullom Davis, a Heritage board chairman, and his wife, Dr. Kathryn Davis; Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose; Rush Limbaugh, a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host; the Lloyd Noble family of Oklahoma; former President Reagan; Heritage Trustee Thomas Roe; former Treasury Secretary and Heritage Trustee William E. Simon; and Jay Van Andel, co-founder of Amway Corp.

The citation for Sen. Helms' award reads:

"Duty. Honor. Country.

"While typically associated with the citizen soldiers who bravely defend America, these same three words-duty, honor, country-also describe the senior senator from North Carolina. Add one more word, family, and you know Jesse Helms.

"In an age when political one-upmanship is more fashionable than political statesmanship, Jesse Helms is an exception. Sometimes his voice has been a lonely one speaking out for the Founders' vision of limited government and traditional values. For 30 years, he has earned the right to be called the Honorable Mr. Helms.

"A dedicated, unflinching and articulate advocate of conservative policy and principle-yes, one tough cookie-Senator Helms is driven by a sincere love of country and a sense of duty to make all of America a better place.

"But for all his toughness, there is also a warmth and tenderness-a love not only of country, but also of people. There is the loving husband, married to Dorothy for six decades. There is the proud father, with three equally proud children. And there is the gracious Southern Gentleman, who is just as respectful of the woman who cleans his office at night as he is to world leaders, colleagues and official visitors.

"This is Jesse Helms: a towering public figure that history will always recognize and remember for his kindly and courtly demeanor, his unbending patriotism, his commitment to principle, and his dedication to Duty, Honor, Country and Family."

The ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Helms first won election to the Senate in 1972. His fifth term expires this year, and he is not seeking re-election.

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