• The Patriots Initiative bestows its highest recognition for the Briggs’ lifetime of service and support to America’s military community — active, retired, wounded and fallen — and their families,Recognizing their extraordinary service to this nation and their continuous support of America’s military warriors and their families over the past 70 years, longtime Rancho Santa Fe residents Blaine and LaVerne Briggs have been named by The Patriots Initiative as the inaugural recipients of the “Lifetime Patriot Award.” The award was presented March 12 during a celebratory reception at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
The Lifetime Patriot Award recognizes exceptionalism exhibited by a lifetime’s body of work serving the nation, and its core values of self-reliance, philanthropy, free enterprise and defending freedom both in and out of uniform. Military service is not a prerequisite for being nominated, although it is anticipated that many recipients of the Lifetime Patriot Award will likely be veterans.
The award is given to a recipient selected from a comprehensive list of highly qualified, vetted nominees by the Advisory Board to The Patriots Initiative (TPI), the military -focused outreach program at The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.
TPI’s Chairman, Greg Hillgren, cited the following during the ceremony honoring the Briggs for their lifetime body of service and philanthropy:
•Both Blaine and LaVerne are members of “the greatest generation,” and Blaine served with distinction in the Army Air Corps during WW II. As a young, B-24 lead navigator, Lt. Briggs was shot down over the Austrian Alps during his 27th mission in 1944, captured, interrogated by Gestapo and imprisoned in Stalag 3 until liberated by Patton’s forces in 1945.
•When he returned to Des Moines, Iowa in 1946, he and his wife, Laverne, started and built several successful printing and medical records businesses. Every single male employee hired by those companies over three-plus decades were veterans or individuals preparing for future military service.
•After actively retiring to California in 1980, the Briggs have extensively supported many programs and causes that assist the military service community before, during and after deployments, including:
•The Laverne and Blaine Briggs Rehabilitation Program at Scripps Encinitas Hospital provides important physical rehab which, in many cases, has allowed service members to return to active duty.
•Leadership financial support for development of equipment that will enable paralyzed persons – mostly veterans – to walk.
•Either Blaine or LaVerne has served as Directors of The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, Charter Members of the RSFF Legacy Council, the RSF Women’s Fund, and the TPI Advisory Board.
•They continue to support their alma mater, Drake University and the Blank Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.
•The Briggs sponsor the La Costa Glen programs for “Boxes Overseas” sent to deployed military personnel and chair several of the Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs there, as well.
The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation’s Executive Director, Christy Wilson, says of the couple, “they both possess an unqualified ability and desire to share the blessings of their life with others who have been less fortunate.”