The Office of the Secretary of State is now accepting nominations for Washington’s Medal of Merit and Medal of Valor. These two medals are considered the highest state-issued honors for civilians of Washington.
The Medal of Merit recognizes exceptional individuals who perform outstanding services for Washington and its residents. The Medal of Valor is awarded to anyone who has saved or attempted to save the life of another at the risk of their own safety.
After nomination, recipients are chosen by the state medal committee, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House, and chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Medals will be awarded during a special joint session of the state Legislature.
To nominate someone for either of these medals, visit sos.wa.gov/medals/. Forms and supporting documents may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Medal of Merit/Valor Committee, c/o Secretary of State, P.O. Box 40220, Olympia, Wash., 98504-0220.
The deadline for nominations is Oct. 15.
“Washingtonians accomplish amazing things, serve and better their communities in many ways, and commit selfless acts of bravery every day,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “I am grateful for the honor of serving on the state medal committee and celebrating the incredible people who inspire all of us to live better lives.”
Previous Medal of Merit recipients include Leland H. Hartwell, a 2001 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and Billy Frank, Jr., Native American environmental leader, treaty-rights activist and former vice chairman of the Nisqually Indian Tribe.
Emma Smith DeVoe, an early-20th century suffragist often called “the Mother of Women’s Suffrage,” received the Medal of Merit posthumously.
Timothy Bourasaw and Rick Bowers were the most recent recipients of the Medal of Valor award. In 2006, they came upon two people trapped in a vehicle engulfed in flames on Interstate 5. They extricated the passengers, one of whom was on fire, and cared for them until emergency services arrived.
The Medal of Merit may be awarded posthumously, but cannot be awarded to an elected official while in office or any candidate for an elected office. Law enforcement officers, firefighters and other professional emergency responders are not eligible for the Medal of Valor.