Eddie Mannis Receives the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award at FBI Headquarters
On April 15, 2016, at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Eddie Mannis was among 56 individuals and organizations—all leaders within their communities—recognized by Director James Comey for their extraordinary contributions to their communities.
Comey called the day “one of the very best days in the FBI’s year.”
Each recipient received the Director’s Community Leadership Award, presented every year since 1990 by FBI field offices around the country to publicly honor those who have gone above and beyond the call to service by tirelessly working to make their own cities and towns a better and safer place for their fellow residents.
The 2015 award recipients come from all backgrounds, all professions, and all parts of the country, and the issues they focus on vary greatly. But according to Comey, “They are united by a single thing—an effort to do good.”
Comey explained why the FBI publicly recognizes community leaders in this annual ceremony. “First,” he said, “we want to thank them, because they’re doing the same things we’re doing, which is trying to make life better for the American people.”
“And secondly,” added Comey, “we want to show the world what America looks like...and that this is what we do in communities all over the country.” He also hopes that the honorees inspire others, especially young people, to follow in their footsteps.
Knoxville’s Eddie Mannis, president of Prestige Cleaners and Tuxedo, was recognized for his community service in spearheading the HonorAir Knoxville.
As a business owner, Mannis believes that successful companies should give back to the communities in which they have been successful. Mannis supports many community organizations, but no community program is more important to him than HonorAir Knoxville. He not only spearheads the organization, operation, and fundraising efforts, his company also bears the cost of all administrative support for the program. Mannis ensures that every dollar donated is applied directly to the cost of the flights and that the fund raising goals are met. The 20th flight departed and returned on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee.
HonorAir Knoxville was established by Mannis in 2007. It is an organization dedicated to honoring the World War II Veterans of East Tennessee and the sacrifices they made to ensure our country’s freedoms by flying each veteran free of charge to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial built in their honor. Mannis initiated the program in Knoxville to honor his father, who was a veteran of the Korean War, and his uncle and stepfather, who both were World War II veterans.
According to Mannis, the program would not be possible without the support of the community, businesses, and individuals that have volunteered and or made financial contributions.
All World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans, regardless of physical limitations, are also eligible to participate.
The one-day trip, which is provided at no cost to the veterans, includes the following:
- Roundtrip airfare via a chartered American Airlines plane;
- Meals and snacks;
- Chartered bus tour of the World War II Memorial, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Marine, Navy, Air Force, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials; and
- Commemorative items, including a hat, book, and DVD with highlights of the trip.