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Jan 05, 2016 Washington, D.C.

Today at a luncheon event inside the historic Decatur House, the White House Historical Association (WHHA) presented the inaugural Stephen Decatur Award to Navy Midshipman Quarterback Keenan Reynolds for his demonstrated strong leadership, core values of honor, courage and commitment. Reynolds was named the 2014 winner of the Naval Academy Athletic Association's Thompson Cup. The WHHA award is named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur Jr., remembered for his service during the War of 1812.

“To be honored for leadership in a school of leaders is a huge honor. I try everyday to add to my leadership repertoire and never feel like I have ‘done it all’ as my grandmother would tell me,” said Midshipman Reynolds.

The event was hosted by Stewart D. McLaurin, President, White House Historical Association and John H. Dalton, former Secretary of the Navy & WHHA Board Member.

“With the inaugural Stephen Decatur Award, The White House Historical Association honors the legacy and leadership attributes of Commodore Stephen Decatur by recognizing a young leader with those same ideals of honor, courage and commitment. These ideals were exemplified by Stephen Decatur by his heroism in the formative years of the United States Navy. To this date, Decatur was the youngest naval officer to obtain rank of captain — at age 25.

"The senior staff at the WHHA looked to someone for this award who emulates the ideals of Decatur and given his all around leadership at the USNA and his status as a role model for young Americans, the WHHA immediately determined that Midshipman Reynolds should receive this recognition,” stated McLaurin.

“Midshipman Reynolds is the holder of more awards than any other in Navy history. We [Navy] have been playing football for 135 years and no one comes close to his record,” said Dalton.

“But know we are not honoring him today because of football. We are recognizing Kennan because of his outstanding leadership. He embodies the timeless traits of great leaders,” said Dalton.

Among the honored guests were Vice Admiral Walter "Ted" Carter, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, and Colonel Stephen Liszewski, Commandant of Midshipmen. Senior representatives of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, retired senior Navy and Marine Corps officials, leadership of the White House Historical Association and distinguished guests from Washington, D.C., were also in attendance.

Walter E. “Ted” Carter, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent gave an inspiring and educational speech about the legacy of Stephen Decatur, from his decorated war record to his chivalry in never killing, only maiming, opponents in duels.

He read a famous toast written and given by Decatur that captures the spirit and essence of Decatur:“To our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be successful, right or wrong.”

The White House Historical Association is the trustee and manager of the Decatur House located on Lafayette Square, also known as “the President’s Neighborhood”.

Keenan Reynolds Biolet

Senior Keenan Reynolds finished his career at Navy with a career record of 32-13 (.711) as Navy’s starting quarterback. He was a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. Reynolds finished fifth in the 2015 Heisman Trophy voting and was named a Third-Team All-American by the Associated Press. His 32 career wins are the most in Navy history and are the third most among active players nationally and he has scored more touchdowns (88) than anybody in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $45 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission. 

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org

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