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Pa. ANG boasts first-ever Guardsman to receive SoS award

Senior Airman Igor Karlov, a 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, receives The American Legion Spirit of Service Award from The American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford during The American Legion’s 98th National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2016. Karlov, a Pa. Air National Guard member, was the first-ever Guardsman to receive The American Legion Spirit of Service Award in the 17 years it has been awarded to military members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Senior Airman Igor Karlov, a 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, receives The American Legion Spirit of Service Award from The American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford during The American Legion’s 98th National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2016. Karlov, a Pa. Air National Guard member, was the first-ever Guardsman to receive The American Legion Spirit of Service Award in the 17 years it has been awarded to military members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Senior Airman Igor Karlov, 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, sorts through outdated military gear at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 6, 2016. Karlov, part of the Pa. Air National Guard, was the first-ever Guardsman to receive The American Legion Spirit of Service Award in the 17 years it has been awarded to U.S. military members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Senior Airman Igor Karlov, 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, sorts through outdated military gear at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 6, 2016. Karlov, part of the Pa. Air National Guard, was the first-ever Guardsman to receive The American Legion Spirit of Service Award in the 17 years it has been awarded to U.S. military members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa -- Senior Airman Igor Karlov, a 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician here, earned and received The American Legion's Spirit of Service Award during The American Legion's 98th National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 30.

Although this is the 17th year that The American Legion has sponsored the Spirit of Service Award, it marked the first year a member of the National Guard had been selected.

"To say that receiving this award is an honor would be an understatement," said Karlov. "It wasn't just the recognition itself that made this event incredible. Being the first member of the National Guard to be honored with it pays tribute to all of those that do the exact same thing that I do - both as a civilian and a military member."

The American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett, Medal of Honor Recipient Gary B. Beikirch, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford presented the award to Karlov in recognition for his extensive volunteer efforts. He was honored along with representatives from other armed services at the annual business gathering of the 2.2 million-member organization.

The Spirit of Service award differs from many other military-associated honors in that it reflects volunteerism outside of military status.

Some of Karlov's notable volunteerism includes offering 200 hours to the Huntingdon Valley Fire Department; providing more than 350 hours coaching Winter Sport Royals Hockey and with the Danbury Whalers Teams; mentoring students at Mary the Mother of the Redeemer School, North Whales, Pennsylvania. He also assumed the responsibility to receive, palletize, document and transport more than 300 computers and monitors to the Whitehall-Coplay Middle School, Whitehall, Pennsylvania, as part of the Department of Defense's Computers for Learning Program.

Barnett presented Karlov with a membership in The American Legion as part of the award.  "He makes all of his 2.2 million fellow Legionnaires very proud," Barnett said. "Our nation is fortunate to have such dedicated service members as Igor Karlov."

Karlov said that prior to winning the award, he knew little about The American Legion; but, has developed a great respect for the group after learning about it through the event.

"I think the American Legion is truly comprised of great people, doing great things," he said. "Being around them and talking to them was eye-opening, and I recommend that other military members look into the organization."

The sentiment of sincere appreciation was noted by The American Legion, as well.

"For both his service to America and his community, Senior Airman Karlov is a credit to his uniform and to our country," said Barnett.