He then asked Strader to stand up.
“Your fellow members here sent a little note to Gov. Pence of some of the things that you have done for this church, the community and people throughout the state and for many, many of us that served overseas,” Lucas said. “And so Gov. Pence, who’s a great patriot himself and has a great love of service members and their families, agreed.”
He then began reading from a letter Pence had sent. According to that letter, the Distinguished Hoosier Award is meant for a person who “distinguish(es) themselves through significant contributions to their communities and whereas the qualities and characteristics of such individuals reflect the best of the great State of Indiana.”
After being presented with the award, Strader gave all the credit back the members of the group.
“I appreciate it, I really do, but you know, this isn’t about me because … I don’t do anything,” Strader said. “You folks are the ones that pack those boxes, that contribute that stuff, that write those notes, that put those letters in those boxes, that have your kids make out those cards, and then pack them up and send them off. That’s all you. This should have every one of your names on it because this is really about you.”
He added that what makes this group great is the dedication that each member displays year in and year out.
The award will serve as a reminder to the group, Strader said.
“I’ll treasure this and I’ll look at it and every time I do, I’ll think about you and I’ll think about what you’ve done and how you’ve made all this possible,” he said.
After the presentation, Strader said he got involved with the group after losing his son in a battle in Fallujah in November 2004. He said he was looking for a way to honor soldiers.