Developing Servant Leaders. Transforming Lives.
32nd Annual Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award Dinner

32nd Annual Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award Dinner

Monday, November 25, 2019 | 7:00 p.m. | Chantilly Ballroom, Hilton Anatole Hotel

Established in 1988, the Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award Dinner seeks to honor individuals who use their God-given talents and abilities to excel in their chosen field of work and whose lives are testimonies of achievements in free enterprise and service to the community. All proceeds from this dinner go directly to providing scholarships for Dallas Baptist University students.

2019 Award Recipient

Sam Johnson

Former U.S. Representative | Vietnam Veteran

Sam Johnson is a decorated war hero, a true patriot committed to freedom, and a beloved public servant.

Sam served our country proudly in the U.S. Air Force for 29 years. He was the director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School (“Top Gun”) and co-authored a revolutionary new air tactics manual still in use today. He personally flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was shot down on a second tour in Vietnam in 1966.

Sam endured almost seven years as a Prisoner of War, including 42 months in solitary confinement. He spent 72 days in leg stocks and two-and-a-half years in leg irons. Sam returned home to Texas in 1973 and was decorated with numerous military awards, including the Purple Heart. His many sufferings, including periods of starvation and torture, are retold in his autobiography, Captive Warriors.

Following his outstanding military career, Sam established a home-building business in North Dallas and served in the Texas legislature before being elected to leadership in the United States House of Representatives in 1991. In 2011, he became Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee and also sat on the Health Subcommittee with an impressive record of landmark legislative accomplishments. He retired from public service in 2019.

In 2009, the prestigious Congressional Medal of Honor Society presented Sam with the National Patriot Award for his distinguished service on behalf of U.S. troops, veterans, and in defense of freedom. In 2016, the Bipartisan Policy Center awarded him with its first Congressional Patriot Award.

A dear friend of the University, Sam has an endowed scholarship named in his honor at DBU and was the recipient of the inaugural DBU Tom Landry Leadership Award in 2007.

Sam Johnson was married to the late Shirley L. Melton of Dallas who passed away on December 3, 2015. They have three children, ten grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

2019 Dinner Committee

Art Alexander
Bob Anderson
Miles Arnold
C.T. "Sparky" Beckham
Beverly Briney
Judge Oswin Chrisman
John Clem
David Cook

Gary Cook
Millie Cooper
David Dean
Kevin Grace
Raymond Harris
Marydel Harris
Ryan Hefton
Jeffrey Johnson

Jordan Kennedy
Mark Lovvorn
Kaye Dawn Lunsford
Ed Pearce
Boone Powell, Jr.
Ron Skaggs
Shannen Smith
Bobby Soto

Bryan Stevenson
Julie Turner
David Walls
Mark Wells
Don Wills
Adam C. Wright

Previous Recipients

2018 Raymond Harris
2017 Orville C. Rogers
2016 Joel Allison
2015 Lee Roy and Tandy Mitchell
2014 Don Hodges
2013 Bob Buford
2012 Vester Hughes
2011 Norm Miller
2010 Wright L. Lassiter, Jr.

2009 Tom Leppert
2008 Drayton McLane, Jr.
2007 Andy and Joan Horner
2006 David A. Dean
2005 Pete Schenkel
2004 Noble Hurley (posthumously)
2003 The Weir Furniture Family
2002 George A. Shafer
2001 Mary C. Crowley (posthumously)

2000 Erle Nye
1999 Ross Perot, Jr.
1998 Jim L. Turner
1997 Rodger Meier
1996 W. Forrest Smith
1995 Lonnie ‘Bo’ Pilgrim
1994 Bob Minyard,
Liz Minyard,
Gretchen Minyard Williams,
J.L. Sonny Williams

1993 Boone Powell, Sr.,
Boone Powell, Jr.
1992 Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper
1991 Tom Landry
1990 Maurice and Ebby
Halliday Acers
1989 Trammell Crow
1988 John M. Stemmons, Sr.

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