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Reno, Nevada — January 22, 2009 – Safari Club International (SCI) will be recognized with Freedom Team Salute commendations by the United States Army for its support of the nation’s men and women in uniform at the 37th Annual Hunters’ Convention this week.  Twelve members of SCI’s Veterans Committee and all 159 U.S. based SCI Chapters will receive Freedom Team Salute commendation packages at the convention.

Merle Shepard, president of Safari Club International, will accept a commendation on behalf of the organization.  “This is a great honor for SCI,” said Shepard.  “We have never received this type of recognition from the Army.  We have members who are Army Veterans that live all across our country and they’re as committed as I am to supporting our Soldiers and Veterans who have sacrificed to ensure our nation’s freedoms.”

Actor Tom Selleck will deliver a speech at SCI’s convention and will receive an Army Veteran Freedom Team Salute Commendation.  Selleck, known for his portrayal of a private investigator on the hit television series Magnum, PI, was in the Army National Guard from 1967 to 1973.  Additionally, Friday night’s evening entertainment, Country Western superstar John Michael Montgomery, will be honored as an Army Supporter.

Freedom Team Salute commendations consist of a personalized letter of appreciation and certificate signed by Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren and Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey Jr.  Honorees also receive personalized Army lapel pins and U.S. Army decals.  The Salute, a quarterly newsletter, is sent to honorees to inform them about the program and keep them in touch with the Army family.

“We appreciate the opportunity Safari Club International has provided us to meet with Mr. Shepard and other leaders in the organization to thank them for their ongoing support of Active Duty Soldiers and Veterans,” said Colonel David Griffith, Director of Freedom Team Salute.  “SCI is an important supporter of Freedom Team Salute and the Army family.”

SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 190 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 18 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.

Freedom Team Salute was established in 2005 by the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army, which gives the public the opportunity to thank all U.S. Army Veterans for their service by recognizing them with Commendations.  The program also honors and recognizes the Parents, Spouses, Employers, and Supporters of Active Duty, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers.  Freedom Team Salute has honored over 1.7 million Army Veterans, Spouses, Parents, Supporters, and Employers since its launch.

To honor an Army Veteran, Army Supporter, or to learn more about Freedom Team Salute, visit the website at www.freedomteamsalute.com