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The Montana State Medal of Valor was adopted in 1895.
The governor of Montana is authorized to designate a medal of valor in recognition of heroic actions taken by courageous Montanans and visitors to the state that have displayed extraordinary courage in a situation that threatened the lives of another person or people.
The governor awards the medal of valor, in the name of the people of Montana, to anyone whose behavior (in his or her judgment) merits such recognition. The award is normally made in a public ceremony at the recipient's city or town of residence. The Montana state medal of valor is not limited to native Montanans - recipients that are not Montana natives would normally receive their medal at the state capital.
To be eligible for the Montana Medal of Valor, nominees must be a resident of Montana who, at risk of death or injury, endeavored to save others
from a life-threatening situation during a calendar year.
To apply, submit the name(s) of the people involved in saving another's life at the peril of their own, along with a written description of the incident. Names and phone numbers of witnesses, newspaper articles or any additional information that can be provided would be helpful.
Applications should be sent to: Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 200801, Helena, MT 59620.
State has own medal of valor; Montana one of only four states with honor for fallen veterans
June 05, 2013 6:00 pm • By John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard
Montana will honor its veterans who died or are missing in action with an official state medal of valor.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed a law during a ceremony in the rotunda of the Butte-Silver Bow County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon making official the Montana Award of Valorous Service. State Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte, was among the co-sponsors of the legislation.
The medal will be given to the families of about 1,500 Montana servicemen and women who have died or are missing in action since 1941. Sesso said state personnel will spend the next year trying to identify the families who qualify for the medal and begin distributing them by 2015.
The 2013 Legislature approved the measure in Senate Bill 242.
The bill gives the Department of Military Affairs the ability to accept and spend private donations to fund the medal. Sesso said it will cost about $7,000 to produce 100 medals.
The medal features a silver cross with a circular medallion in the middle. The medallion has a gold star for the families of fallen troops, depictions of mountains, blue sky and grasslands. It has an eagle feather for Montana Native Americans and a pick ax to represent the state's mining culture. The medal also includes a plate with "4-41"to represent Montana as the fourth largest state and the 41st state to enter the Union.
Sesso noted only three other states have a similar medal honoring fallen veterans.
Six families of veterans killed in action attended Tuesday's ceremony. State Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, and Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, also were there.
Bullock spoke about the veterans' bills he supported during the last legislative session. He noted one bill that gives returning veterans priority in the application process for state jobs.
"(Veterans) can take those skills they learned in the military and bring it back here in civilian life,"Bullock said.
Sesso congratulated the Legislature for its efforts in helping veterans.
"We have a long way to go, but we've made considerable progress,"Sesso said.
The law designating the official Montana state medal of valor is found in the Montana Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 1, Part 5, Section 1-1-515
TITLE 1. GENERAL LAWS AND DEFINITIONS
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Part 5. State Symbols - Official Designations
1-1-515. Montana medal of valor established.
(1) The governor is authorized to present, in the name of the people of Montana, a medal to be known as the Montana medal of valor, bearing a suitable inscription and ribbon, to any citizen of the state who displays extraordinary courage in a situation threatening the lives of one or more people.
(2) The governor shall award the Montana medal of valor to anyone whose behavior, in his judgment, merits such recognition. The award must be made in a public ceremony at the recipient's city or town of residence or at a city or town designated by the recipient, except under the circumstances indicated in subsection (3).
(3) If the recipient of the medal of valor dies before the medal is awarded, the governor shall present the medal to the recipient's spouse, eldest surviving child, eldest surviving sibling, or either parent or to a person designated by one of these. If the medal is presented to a person who is not a resident of Montana, the award ceremony must be held at the state capitol
History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 537, L. 1985.