Carlo D'EsteLifetime Achievement Award
A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel with service in Vietnam, D'Este has received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, and Commendation Medal for his military service. He is a co-founder of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, based at Norwich University, and currently serves as its executive director. His books include Decision in Normandy, Patton: A Genius for War, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, 1890-1945, and Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945 .
Karl MarlantesColby Award
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War draws from Karl Marlantes’ experience as an officer in the Marine Corps. He received the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals for his service in Vietnam. A graduate of Yale and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Marlantes lives in rural Washington.
Hershel “Woody” WilliamsMedal of Honor Recipient
His company had been decimated after two days of intense fighting on Iwo Jima. But when the twenty-one year old Acting Sergeant saw the American flag rise over Mount Suribachi, he seized the moment. Williams strapped on a flamethrower and weaved through enemy fire to destroy a machine-gun pillbox. Williams spent the next four hours racing from enemy position to position, wreaking havoc, stopping only to grab new flamethrowers as each ran out of fuel. At last, the enemy line was broken and the Marines were able to advance.
Williams earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic service on Iwo Jima. After leaving active duty, he became a lay minister in his church and a chaplain for his fellow Medal recipients. Today, he is Chaplain Emeritus of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Allen J. LynchMedal of Honor Recipient
On December 15th, 1967, Lynch and the rest of his platoon were on their way back for a well-deserved rest when they were called in to support another company that had been outnumbered by an enemy force. Under intense fire, Lynch carried three wounded soldiers to safety, and single-handedly defended them against the advancing enemy force for several hours.
His quick-thinking and disregard for his own safety were vital in saving those lives, but his fight on behalf of his fellow soldiers did not end on the battlefield. After leaving active duty, Lynch worked for several years in the Veterans Administration, advocating for increased benefits for disabled veterans, and served most recently as chief of the Veterans Rights Bureau for the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Now retired, he continues that commitment as a volunteer with the Vietnam Veterans of America and does ministry work with the Lake County Jail.
Steppenwolf Theatre CompanySpecial Dramatic Performance
The Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago-based international performing arts institution committed to ensemble collaboration and artistic risk through its work with its permanent ensemble, guest artists, partner institutions, and the community. Steppenwolf has redefined the landscape of acting and performance by spawning a generation of America's most gifted artists. Founded in 1976 as an ensemble of nine actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of theatre artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking, and textual adaptation.
Rob StaffordNBC Chicago
Master of Ceremonies
Rob Stafford is the anchor of NBC5 News at 5PM, 6PM, and 10PM. He anchors with Allison Rosati on all three newscasts. Rob joined NBC5 News in Chicago as weekend anchor and reporter in September 2007. He moved to the main anchor position in July 2009. Prior to joining NBC 5, Rob was a correspondent for the award-winning NBC newsmagazine, Dateline NBC. He joined NBC News in 1996. Stafford served as a consumer reporter and substitute anchor at WBBM-TV, Chicago. Before that, he anchored the morning newscast at WFTV-TV in Orlando and founded the station's award winning investigative unit. His two-year investigative series on hotel crime in Orlando exposed serious security problems and led to a grand jury investigation. Stafford also held various anchoring and reporting positions at WFRV-TV in Green Bay, Wis. and KBJR-TV in Duluth, Minn.
During his career, Stafford has been recognized by local chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He was honored with four Emmy Awards in the Chicago and Florida markets and received six Emmy nominations as well. Stafford is also the recipient of four Associated Press awards, an Iris Award and an RTNDA Award. His Dateline report on hazing in the United States Marine Corps received a national news Emmy in 1997, and he was also nominated for Emmys in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, Stafford received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his Dateline investigation into racial profiling.
A native of New Hampshire, Stafford received a degree in political science and journalism from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
Peder DahlbergFounder’s Award
A native of the North Side of Chicago, Peder Dahlberg is the son of sea-minded parents – his father Olaf served in the Coast Guard during World War II, and his mother Marion was a lifeguard captain and lookout on Chicago’s North Avenue Beach. After graduating from Indiana University, where he was the Captain of the 1971 NCAA Championship Swim Team, Dahlberg competed in the first sanctioned athletic competition between the USA and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik in East Germany since World War II. His USA team won 24 of 27 events. While serving as an Olympic Swimming Coach for Spain, he met his future wife, Gloria Balague of Barcelona.
His work with Peder Dahlberg & Sons General Contractors led to historic restorations of important Chicago buildings such as the Rookery (Burnham & Root), the Emil Bach House (Frank Lloyd Wright), and the Monroe Building (Holabird & Roche). Dahlberg also worked on both the first Pritzker Military Library, which opened in 2003, and the new library, which opened to the public earlier this year.