Irving Diener Award


The Irving Diener Award is the second most prestigious award which the BVA presents. This award is presented at the annual Awards Banquet of the BVA National Convention.  The Award seeks to honor those who have made an outstanding commitment to their BVA regional group and the organization as a whole rather than for his/her personal achievement in rehabilitation or employment. Irving Diener was a former member of the BVA National Advisory Committee and continuously supported BVA. As an individual Diener sought to empower those who were dedicated to the organization. In 1961 when the award was first established Diener himself paid the prize money which supported life membership dues for one person. Diener saw that by supporting one individual he was empowering them to focus on the bigger picture. Today this tradition is held onto by the children and grandchildren of the late Irving Diener; continuing to support those members who work to improve their regional groups and the BVA organization as a whole.

The award, established in 1962, takes its name from the late Irving Diener, a former member of the BVA National Advisory Committee, who demonstrated a keen interest in the BVA over the years.

The Diener Award differs significantly from the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award in that the former is awarded to the veteran who contributes in an outstanding way to the BVA as an organization rather than for personal achievement in rehabilitation and in the field of employment. The award consists of a framed, calligraphic scroll and a $50.00 stipend. For the past several years, the $50.00 stipend has been donated by Mrs. Eleanor Diener Metz, the daughter of the late Irving Diener.

During the January/February time period of each year, the BVA National Headquarters solicits nominations from the regional groups and members of the BVA National Board of Directors for this award. Nominations are due at the National Headquarters usually by not later than mid-April. Judging is traditionally done by the three most recent Immediate Past National Presidents of BVA.

Like the Maas Award, a veteran may win the Diener Award only once.  BVA employees are not eligible for this award.

Previous Recipients of the Diener Award (Since 1962)


The Diener Award was established in 1961 when Irving Diener put up $50 to present to the individual selected. The stipend was originally the amount of life membership dues for one person. The three most recent Past National Presidents are the judges for this award. Other than recognizing the change in who provides the stipend, there has been no action by the Board regarding the Diener Award since its inception.

            1962 David L. Schnair
            1963 George M. Gillispie
            1964 William F. Hughes
            1965 Stephen Sivacek
            1966 Simon Gerbush
            1967 Robert C. Ward
            1968 Leonard E. Shelhammer
            1969 Robert Bescoe
            1970 Clyde W. Waugh
            1971 Jerry R. Monroe
            1972 Harrison W. Gilpin
            1973 George M. Mitchell
            1974 Julius D. Morris
            1975 Frank J. Yagel, Jr.
            1976 Dennis R. Wyant
            1977 George E. Stocking
            1978 Harold L. Rogers
            1979 Walter O. Powell
            1980 Henry J. Berube
            1981 John Fales, Jr.
            1982 Ronald L. Miller
            1983 Harry C. Quiles
            1984 Rev. Jack W. Kinley
            1985 David M. Szumowski
            1986 No award given
            1987 Troy B. McKenzie
            1988 Urban Miyares
            1989 Bobby G. Ridener
            1990 Elizabeth R. Carr
            1991 Russell A. Gage
            1992 Bryan K. Burnett
            1993 Larry R. Belote
            1994 Cornelius J. Appleby
            1995 C. Caroline Maas
            1996 Frank J. Scarcella
            1997 Gerard M. McDonnell
            1998 Keith Marshall
            1999 Larry Grant
            2000 Mark Cornell
            2001 Harold Powell
            2002 Jimmy R. Hutcherson
            2003 Eldon Pugh
            2004 Terry King
            2005 Gene Lowery
            2006 Don R. Haynes
            2008 Roy E. Young
            2009 Bill Case
            2010 Dennis O'Connell
            2011 No Award Winner
            2012 Randall Durrigan
            2013 No Award Winner