The Forty & Eight  Charitable Veterans Since 1920

40&8 National Headquarters; 777 N. Meridian Street; Indianapolis, IN 46204-1170

317 634-1804 –

MEDIA RELEASE                                    

Contact: M. Anich:


40&8 Veterans Convention – Awardees and Media Opportunities

Fort Mitchell, KY, Sept 11-15, 2012


INDIANAPOLIS August 28, 2012   The national Forty & Eight veterans organization will hold its 93rd annual Promenade Nationale (national convention) at the Drawbridge Inn, 2477 Royal Drive, Fort Mitchell, KY, 41017, September 11-15, 2012.

National commander, Chef de Chemin de Fer Robert Molina, cordially invites the News Media to attend.  Among the colorful opportunities for photos, video and stories, will be parade locomotives on display, a color guard competition, and a clown party for disadvantaged children.  

The organization’s annual awardees for; Hero of the Year, 2012 Americanism awardee, Law Officer of the Year, and City of the Year, will be honored Friday at 1:00 pm, Sept. 14, 2012.

The Forty & Eight’s 2012 Hero of the Year is volunteer firefighter Chris Pratt, of Odin, Illinois.  On Dec. 21, 2011, Pratt saved four year old Jace Westbrook from an overturned burning vehicle that seconds later exploded, taking the life of the child’s mother and leaving Pratt himself suffering burns.  Pratt has received the Illinois Medal of Honor and the Medal of Valor from Firehouse Magazine for his rescue.

(Photo right, by Bruce Knapp) Chris Pratt and Jace Westbrook meet on Memorial Day, May 27, 2012.  Westbrook, now with his grandparents, here wearing a hand brace and stocking for burn injuries, is expected to fully recover.  

The 2012 Americanism Award recipient is Capt. William A. Robinson, USAF Retired.

Robinson is the longest-held enlisted Prisoner of War in U. S. history and the first enlisted man to receive the Air Force Cross for valor; captured while trying to rescue a downed airman.  Robinson is also one of three enlisted men trained and commissioned as Lieutenants while in captivity and upon release had his commission personally approved by the President. His story appears in “Commissioned in Hanoi”, Air Force Magazine, April 2012, by fellow POW and Medal of Honor recipient, Col. Leo Thorsness. 

(Photo left)  Robinson was captured in September of 1965.  This iconic photo, staged beside a tiny enemy girl for propaganda, was made into an enemy postage stamp more than one year before the United States honored its own POWs with a US postage stamp. -- Robinson was a Prisoner of War from 1965 to 1973, more than seven years.

The Forty & Eight is a charitable honor society of U. S. veterans, founded in 1920 by veterans of the First World War.  Its official name is La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux, derived from the French railway experience of U. S. troops in WWI France. 

In the 1930’s, the Forty & Eight led the fight against Childhood Diphtheria and in the 1950’s toward finding a cure for Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).   Today the Forty & Eight provides scholarships to nursing students, aids children and widows, youth sports and other charitable endeavors.

Forty & Eight’s National Media Kit is at

Convention questions? Please contact 40&8’s John Fergusen of Morehead, KY, at 606 783-7083.

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by Bruce Knapp