Press Release

July 21, 2003

No. 03-22

Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000 Ext.146


(Washington, D.C.) – James V. Kimsey, the founding CEO of America Online and a two-tour Vietnam veteran, will receive the Arts Award at Vietnam Veterans of America’s 11th biennial National Convention at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, August 2.  Kimsey, who became AOL Chairman Emeritus in 1996 and now runs the non-profit Kimsey Foundation in Washington, D.C., will be honored for his outstanding contributions to American culture. 

“We are proud to honor the work of Jim Kimsey,” said VVA national President Thomas H. Corey. “He served his country honorably in Vietnam, was a visionary business leader and his Kimsey Foundation is one of the nation’s largest and most influential organizations. His work in support of the arts and his humanitarian work around the world has been remarkable." 

Kimsey, a West Point graduate, is, among other things, chairman of the Washington Opera, on the executive committee of the National Symphony Orchestra, and a Presidential Appointee to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Kimsey's dedication to the philanthropic and humanitarian effort is fueled by his experience in Vietnam. Kimsey served two tours in Vietnam, from 1965-66 as an Airborne Ranger commanding a District Advisory Team in Quang Ngai Province, and as assistant to the Commanding General of Special Operations at MACV in 1968-69. It was during Kimsey's first tour where he began, what would become, his philanthropic legacy. Kimsey built and staffed an orphanage that he has continued to support for three decades.

Now, Kimsey's humanitarian work extends to the far corners of the world. In 2001, at the request of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Kimsey assumed the position of Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). In this capacity, Kimsey has traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistan, and most recently Iraq, to assess the grave humanitarian situation left in the wake of Sadaam Hussein's exile. Kimsey also chairs the advocacy group, Refugees International (RI), and has traveled the world assessing the refugee repatriation situation, land mine removal projects and other human rights concerns.

An estimated 600 delegates from local VVA chapters will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests at the convention in St. Louis, which begins on Wednesday, July 30. The delegates will set the organization’s course for the next two years, hear from an array of speakers, attend information sessions, and take part in special events, including the 25th Anniversary Banquet on Saturday night, August 2.  

In addition to Kimsey, other scheduled convention participants include Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell, VA Secretary Anthony Principi, Medal of Honor recipient Paul “Buddy” Bucha, and Missouri Sen. Jim Talent.


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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