– The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) honored Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) with its annual Charles Dick Medal of Merit
. Barrar received the award at the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations annual conference in Lancaster on Saturday.
Barrar is one of only three people in the country to receive this national award for his role in advancing the mission of the Pennsylvania National Guard and the lives of National Guard personnel and their families.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by this esteemed national organization, which represents our National Guard personnel and families across our country,” said Barrar. “Having served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, I have a particular appreciation for the men and women who bravely step forward to defend our nation’s security and interests here at home and around the world. Throughout my career and in the past nine years as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I have focused heavily on ensuring our military personnel, veterans and first responders, who protect the safety and welfare of our citizens every day, have the tools they need and receive the respect and attention they deserve.”
The Charles Dick Medal of Merit was established in 1988 to recognize the strong, long-term support of the National Guard by members of a state legislative body, the United States Congress or any state governor. The medal is named in honor of Maj. Gen. Charles Dick, who served in the Ohio National Guard, and is a former NGAUS president, congressman and senator. Dick was responsible for legislation that established the foundation of the modern National Guard.
Under Barrar’s leadership, the Pennsylvania General Assembly created the veteran identification designation on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and established the PA Veterans Trust Fund, the PA Veterans Foundation and the National Guard Youth Challenge program for at-risk youth. Legislation was also enacted to require at least one member of the state Civil Service Commission be a veteran; to offer in-state college tuition for all veterans and eligible family members; establish the PA Veterans Registry and enhance important programs such as the National Guard’s College Educational Assistance Program and our state veterans home system.
Barrar endeavors to enhance the general welfare of Pennsylvania’s military community. He works to reward veterans and those who support veterans with appropriate recognition, medals and awards. He fought for and succeeded in getting a pay increase for state active duty military personnel and established incentives for veteran-owned small businesses.
In the 2019-20 Legislative Session, Barrar was the co-prime sponsor of a new law to further enhance educational opportunities for National Guard families by providing college education funding to dependents of Pennsylvania guard members who reenlist for an additional six years of service. The new law is the first of its kind in the United States, making Pennsylvania a national model for this military family benefit.
Also this session, Barrar was successful in bringing the salaries of senior officers and commanders into line with federal Department of Defense pay and allowances, and he is currently working to secure a restricted account in the state Treasury for Pennsylvania’s National Guard Youth Challenge program, which provides structured, quasi-military residential education for at-risk youth, ages 16-18.
“Representative Barrar is a strong and longtime supporter of the National Guard, who has continually delivered results on his commitment to National Guardsmen in Pennsylvania and around this great nation,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “His dedication to our military, families and veterans, and his mission-oriented leadership has resulted in significant advances in the efficiency, readiness and effectiveness of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard, and it is a great honor for all of Pennsylvania to see him recognized on the national level for his outstanding efforts.”
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
Rep. Stephen Barrar is pictured with his wife, Elena, and daughter, Elizabeth, upon receiving the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States.