Navy awards Larsen highest civilian honor

The Islands' Weekly: Navy awards Larsen highest civilian honor 

Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) has been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Navy’s highest civilian honor for courageous or heroic acts, or outstanding service of benefit to the Navy or Marine Corps.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This award belongs to the women and men of the Navy, the Marine Corps and their families – whose unsung, everyday sacrifices make our military the finest the world has ever known. I will continue to advocate for our servicemembers and veterans, and work to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed.”

“This award was presented to recognize Representative Larsen’s tremendous support for our Sailors and Marines and his forceful advocacy for the resources needed to maintain a strong Navy and Marine Corps,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “We are fortunate to have such a dedicated leader in Congress.”

Larsen has been a consistent champion for the U.S. military, servicemembers and veterans.

Larsen successfully fought to keep open the Women, Infants, and Children office on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – which hundreds of military families rely on for food assistance. He also secured language in the House version of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to allow Women, Infants, and Children offices to operate on military bases.

Additionally, Larsen has advocated for a strong Navy presence in Everett, where he worked to bring three new destroyers to replace decommissioned frigates at the naval base.

In 2015, Larsen pressed the VA to change the Veterans Choice Program to better meet the needs of veterans in the Pacific Northwest. Whidbey veterans can now receive local health care instead of facing an hours-long drive across Deception Pass to Mount Vernon or having to take the ferry to Seattle to reach a VA doctor. And in September of this year, Larsen succeeded in helping circumvent a 1992 ban on the VA providing in vitro fertilization services for veterans – which had previously forced veterans with service-connected infertility to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Larsen will be presented with the award at an official ceremony to be announced in the coming weeks.