Safety is top priority when planning an event during a pandemic and the Medal of Honor Week festivities are no exception.

The annual Medal of Honor activities typically hosted in April have been moved to September. Recipients of the military’s highest award for valor are slated to come Sept. 22-26 to Gainesville, according to Tommy Moore, board president of the Medal of Honor Host City Program.

“I talked to the board and reached out to a couple of the recipients and it seemed to be the smarter thing to do,” Moore said of postponing this year’s 20th anniversary event. “My concern was the availability for vaccines.”

Moore said the Medal of Honor events typically held in March in Washington, D.C., and New York City are canceled.

Last year, the April event, which educates area students about the recipients in attendance, was canceled because of the coronavirus.

Moore said because of the downturn of the economy caused by the pandemic, he’s not “exactly sure” where the nonprofit organization stands with one of its corporate sponsors, American Airlines.

“I can’t imagine the things they are facing with all their employees,” Moore said. “Since they have been carrying us with our flights for five years, we didn’t really feel like that we lost them as a corporate sponsor and we were still going to consider them a corporate sponsor.”

He said the airline has allowed the nonprofit to “put some money in the bank.” The organization has budgeted about $30,000 to pay for travel this year, according to Moore.

“Right now, it’s just more about having the event,” Moore said. “We’re just so excited to get back to some hospitality and enjoy our Texas patriotism.”

The Medal of Honor Host City Program was established in 2001. Gainesville is the nation’s only Medal of Honor Host City.

The MOHHCP board meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month at the Gainesville Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St.

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