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White House Calls on Communities and Organizations to Nominate Dedicated Volunteers

December 9th, 2011

Office of Communications

December 8, 2011

White House Calls on Communities and Organizations to Nominate Dedicated Volunteers
Outstanding Volunteers to be Honored with President's Drum Major for Service Awards

WASHINGTON, DC - As the 26th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day approaches, the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) are joining forces to recognize outstanding volunteers nationwide with the MLK Drum Majors for Service program.

The Drum Majors program gives organizations and groups an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition. Drum Major awardees receive an award from CNCS designating that person as a "Drum Major for Service" with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

"As we call upon Americans to honor Dr. King's legacy through engaging in service, those who set examples for their communities deserve to be honored," said Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council.  "In challenging times, Americans traditionally come together, support one another, and strengthen their communities, improving their own and their neighbors' lives."

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged CNCS with leading this effort.  Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service - a "day on, not a day off".   The 2012 MLK Day of Service will include thousands of projects spread across all 50 states. 

Building off of Dr. King's quote, "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice," this award honors those that are mission driven, serving throughout the year.  

"We have seen time and time again as a nation that service is a critical tool of strengthening communities," said CNCS Acting CEO Robert Velasco II. "In this time of intense economic challenge for the nation, Dr. King's lessons and vision are more relevant than ever,"

Drum Major Award recipients will be honored by at events in their communities.  To submit a volunteer to be recognized as a MLK Drum Major for Service, please visit, and please take a minute to tell about the person you plan to honor by sending an email to