Redding Veteran, Mother Finalists for Prestigious Medal

Two Redding residents are among 20 finalists nationwide for Citizen Service Before Self Honors, a congressional medal called the most prestigious civilian award in America.

Fred Salanti, founder of the Missing in America Project, and Debbie Allen, who has influenced state legislation and educated hundreds of children about the dangers of alcohol, were on the list released Monday by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

Three finalists will be selected to receive Citizen Service Before Self Honors at a March 25 ceremony at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. The recipients will be announced March 21.

Here is what the Citizen Service Before Self Honors website says about Allen and Salanti:

Debbie Allen
Debbie Allen of Redding, California, has been recognized for educating numerous children across California about the dangers of alcohol in addition to founding an organization that helps save other children from alcohol related deaths. Allen created Shelby’s Rules—an alcohol poisoning education foundation. She has spent limitless hours and money traveling all over California to warn children at schools, colleges and civic centers about the signs of alcohol poising and the dangers of binge drinking. Allen has reached hundreds of children across the state. Her efforts have resulted in two newly instituted Californian laws.

(Read a November 2010 article by A News Café’s Doni Greenberg about Allen’s efforts, motivated by the tragic alcohol-poisoning death of her teenage daughter.)

Fred Salanti
Frederick Salanti of Redding, California, has been recognized for starting a foundation that has helped identify and provide proper military burials for more than 1,000 forgotten soldiers. Salanti founded the Missing in America Project to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. He has taken his quest nationwide and partnered with the National Funeral Directors Association to alert more than 19,000 funeral directors and funeral service personnel about the existing problem.

To be considered for this honor, nominees must have made a difference through a single act of extraordinary heroism or through a continued commitment to put others before themselves. Anyone can submit nominations.

A panel of Medal of Honor recipients will select the three honorees. This year marks
the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor, the country’s highest
award for valor. The number of Medal recipients still living is fewer than 90.

-by A News Café staff