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June 7, 2010
Air Force Wins Top Silver Anvil Award
We wish we knew more about this, but we thought you would like to know about the winner of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) "Best of Silver Anvil Award," PR's highest award for excellence. It's the U.S. Air Force for its "Dignified Transfer" program for receiving the flag-draped caskets of American service members at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

"For more than 18 years," dBusinessNews reports, "a U.S. policy hid from public view the arrival of America's war dead at Dover Air Force Base, the sole U.S. port of entry for the remains of America's service personnel. In 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates reversed this media ban, which critics had decried as hiding the true cost of war.

"Air Force public relations professionals developed a fail-safe and repeatable media relations program that neither sought nor discouraged media reports, but that facilitated coverage consistent with each family's wishes. In the first year of the new policy, 471 war dead returned to Dover for the 'dignified transfer of remains.' More than half (55 percent) of these ceremonies were covered by media."

PRSA presented the top Silver Anvil award to more that 20 members of the Air Force, including Erin C. Conaton, undersecretary of the Air Force, at the Silver Anvil Awards ceremony last Thursday evening at the Equitable Tower in New York.

Said Undersecretary Conaton: "I want to thank the Public Relations Society of America for recognizing the Air Force Office of Public Affairs and its tremendous record of success in this no-fail mission. It is a solemn process that ensures dignity, honor and respect for the fallen, and also provides care, service and support to family members, while allowing the media to give the public considerate insight into the human cost of war. The work that Air Force Mortuary Affairs and Public Affairs do with dignified transfers, and the media's coverage of them, is important to the Air Force, the Department of Defense and the nation."

Congratulations, indeed! There were more than 800 Silver Anvil entries in all. 


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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