The Malcolm Hickey Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ray Tate at the American Legion Potter-Henry-Lowrey Post 72 meeting on Tuesday night.
Tate, an American Legion member, said that he didn't deserve the award.
“There are many more here in this room that deserve this award more than me. I didn't get shot or badly wounded in war, but there were many more here that did. I am very thankful for this award, though. Thank you. I love each and every one of you in this room tonight.
Tate's family members surprised Tate by showing up at the meeting. Carol Tate, William Tate, Wayne Tate, Annice Roberts, Shane Rakestraw, and Melonie Rakestraw surprised him.
This award was established on July 14, 1999.
Malcolm Hickey was commander of Post 72 in 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 and played a key role in holding the post together after it had fallen on hard times during the 1990s after a group of WWII veterans, who had played vital roles in building this vibrant organization in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, fell victim to poor health and age.
After teaching at East Union Attendance Center for 29 years, Malcolm Hickey died unexpectedly in Jan. 1999. He also was a talented carpenter who was married to his wife, Ann, after a six-year courtship that found them getting married on June 18, 1954. They were married before he was drafted and shipped out on July 12, 1954 to serve his country in the United States Army Signal Corps in Germany during the Korean War.
The Malcolm Hickey award stands as a lifetime achievement award.
Ann Hickey said, “It is so great to be here tonight and see so many great people who love and honor our country every day. There are so many mena nd women that sacrifice their lives so those like us that didn;t fight can have so much. I am very privileged to be here today to present this award in honor of Malcolm. He would have been so grateful.”
The recipient was first chosen by nomination and approval of the executive committee. Beginning in 2008, the committee was comprised of the past recipients who then made the selection.
Malcolm Hickey was chosen as the ideal candidate for this award because those who knew him said that he perfectly represented the “citizen/soldier” who lived his life based on Christian principles that made him a commanding figure during his lifetime and a role model to the hundreds of students he taught through the years.
After war, he contuned to live by the principles of basic goodness and love, while also having a good sense of humor and a continued support of honor for his country.
Malcom Hickey was commander of the post when attendance was small, with only 12 to 15 members showing up once a month.
“Malcolm would be stunned by the post naming an award after him,” Ann Hickey said when she presented the first award to Acy B. Davis. “He did love the American Legion so much. He especially loved driving the young men you folks send to Boy’s State each year.”
After his retirement, Malcolm Hickey loved to go to a local restaurant in town and visit with friends.
Ann Hickey said, “He’d come in and say ‘I’m going to the office now!’”
The Malcolm Hickey Lifetime Achievement Award is presented each year during the American Legion meeting.