Heidi and Erik Murkoff Receive Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award

US Navy
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, presented Heidi and Erik Murkoff with the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award on June 23, for their longstanding support to military moms and dads stationed around the world. The ceremony honoring their contributions to the Armed Forces was held in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. The Murkoffs were nominated for the award, given annually, by the Department of the Navy.
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Heidi, the author of the New York Times bestseller “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, and her husband Erik, partnered with the United Service Organizations to create and distribute the Special Delivery program. Since 2013, Special Delivery has hosted over 250 events to support military spouses, and expectant active duty and reservist parents from every branch of the military. Events include baby showers and post-deployment family reunions with newborns. Over 30,000 moms and dads stationed throughout the world have been celebrated and supported.

“Being pregnant or becoming a mom is always a heavy lift, but it’s exponentially harder for moms serving too far from families, friends, and their network of support – sometimes thousands of miles away from home. The service and sacrifice is real, and so is the isolation,” said Heidi. “These moms, whether they’re service members or spouses, having their first baby or their sixth, deserve our support, appreciation, our celebration, and most of all, our love. Literally, they are our heroes, and it’s our greatest honor to have the opportunity to provide as much of that love as we can.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Heidi, Erik, and their team from providing the love and support that Special Delivery provides. Though in-person showers have been restricted, the program has continued virtually. These virtual showers bring the celebration directly to moms, helping combat the increased isolation that military families have faced during the pandemic, which is especially important when family and friends are not allowed to visit. All of the showers and other Special Delivery events offer parents not only the chance to connect with Heidi and Erik, but with each other, which creates a vital local network of friendship, support and valuable resources within the military community.

Representing Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, was Robert D. Hogue, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Highlighting the Murkoffs’ immense patriotism, Hogue expressed his admiration for their contributions to the military community after the event. “The selfless dedication these two individuals have shown not only to our Department’s Sailors and Marines stationed around the world, but to America’s Armed Forces families is inspiring. The enthusiasm Heidi and Erik consistently show for active and reserve component moms- and dads-to-be is a true reflection of their compassionate character,” said Hogue.

Each year the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award is given to an individual or organization that demonstrates the qualities of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher including exceptional patriotism, generosity, and selfless dedication to members of the Armed Forces, or programs that enhance the quality of life for military members and their families. Nominations are submitted through each of the military Services at the beginning of the calendar year.

Heidi and Erik Murkoff recognize the immense challenges military spouses have in nurturing a baby while selflessly serving their country. Their tireless contributions to these families make them worthy of being recipients of the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award.

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