(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,
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.