(Washington, D.C.) –Homer Hickam, best known for his highly acclaimed memoir Rocket Boys—and the movie version, October Sky—will receive the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award at Vietnam Veterans of America's 15th biennial National Convention on Saturday night, August 20, in Reno.
"Homer Hickam is one of our most accomplished authors, and VVA is honored that he is coming to join us in Reno," VVA National President John Rowan said. "We will be honoring him for his many books, and for his service in the Vietnam War with the 4th Infantry Division.
Hickam, who was born and raised in Coalwood, West Virginia, entered the U.S. Army after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1964. He served in Vietnam from 1967-68, where, among other awards, he received the Bronze Star. Hickam left the Army after serving six years on active duty and he immediately began writing, starting with magazine feature stories. He has gone on to write a dozen books. Rocket Boys (1998), which tells the story of Hickam's youth in West Virginia, was met with instant critical and popular acclaim. The film October Sky followed in 1999, also with rave reviews. Hickam's other books include the novel Back to the Moon (1999) and two additional memoirs, The Coalwood Way (2000) and Sky of Stone (2001).
Vietnam Veterans of America will hold its 15th biennial National Convention August 17-20 at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno. Some eight hundred delegates from VVA chapters across the country are expected to join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests in Reno. 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.
Other special guests scheduled to take part in the Convention include Keynote Speaker Richard Pimentel, the disabled Vietnam veteran who is one of the nation's foremost disability rights advocates; and the entertainers Gloria Loring, Vicki Lawrence, and Diana Dell, who will also receive VVA Excellence in the Arts awards at the Convention's culminating event, the Saturday Night Awards Banquet.