The Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is named in honor of America’s most decorated soldier and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy. Murphy, who was to have been the guest speaker at the 1971 Spirit of America Festival, died in a plane crash just two months prior to his scheduled appearance at the event. The award was then designated as the “Audie Murphy Patriotism Award,” and is presented annually to an outstanding American patriot or an outstanding group of individuals who best exemplify the true “Spirit of America.”
The Barrett C. Shelton Sr., Freedom Award was established in 1980 in honor of local newspaper publisher Barrett C. Shelton, Sr., one of the founders of the Spirit of America Festival. The award is presented annually to honor an Alabamian for outstanding service to his community and state.
The Bill J. Dukes Award
The Bill J. Dukes Award was established in 2015 in memory of one of Decatur’s finest and most respected public servants: a five-term mayor and state representative. The award is presented annually to honor a member of the Decatur community who has demonstrated integrity and selflessness in making our community a better place.