Press Freedom Prize, 2023 awarded to John T. McNabb II

by WorldTribune Staff, August 28, 2023

The Free Press Foundation announced that the honorable John T. McNabb, II has been awarded the Press Freedom Prize, 2023 “in recognition of your courage, pioneering initiative and leadership that helped catalyze the renaissance of the American free press.”

Mr. McNabb was vice chairman of the American Leadership Council, co-founder of the Trump Leadership Council, chairman of the Board of Visitors at the University of Houston and former chairman and CEO of Willbros Group.

Mr. McNabb started his career working in Mobil Oil’s exploration and production division. He currently serves on the boards of The Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University and The Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA).

He is an Emeritus member of the Board of Visitors of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and was formerly a board member and Lead Director of both Continental Resources and Vintage Petroleum.

John McNabb, in 1969, with the 355th Tac Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base. / John McNabb Collection

“Mr. McNabb is not a ‘media person’ and to my knowledge was never inclined to become one,” Free Press Foundation President Robert Morton said. However, upon learning more about the vision of the Free Press Foundation, he encouraged his friends and colleagues to support its work, met with its Advisory Board and began to write a column for publication, Morton said.

The unique moral characteristic of taking action and providing leadership even when inclined not to and with no tangible reciprocal benefit has been a pattern in the unique life story of John McNabb as revealed in his autobiography: A Nice Ride: Stories of America.’ For example, after being voted Duke University’s football team’s Most Valuable Player in 1965 as well as being voted onto two All-America teams, he signed up for combat duty in Vietnam rather than enter the National Football League draft. The U.S. Air Force awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

In another example of “taking the road less traveled” years later in 2016, John McNabb was asked by Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources, to help him form the Trump Leadership Council. He emphatically said no, as revealed in a candid and fascinating 2017 discussion at the Duke University School of Business [see video below]. One day later, upon reflection, he agreed.

“Such is the spirit that helped make America exceptional and that is needed this year, 2023, more than at any time in this nation’s history,” according to the award letter.

John McNabb, right, with Donald J. Trump at the first meeting of the Trump Leadership Council co-chaired by Mr. McNabb at Trump Tower, June 8, 2016. / John McNabb

Following are several notable excerpts from John McNabb’s columns:

__ Last year on Memorial Day I warned that our nation had drifted into uncharted waters with societal norms and morals being changed by the current ruling class. I urged America to “wake up.” Despite disturbing consequences of policies that confront us daily, including the disastrous surrender of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and fellow Americans still trapped in that medieval nightmare, I am gratified that many of my countrymen now recognize disturbing realities. …

__ We are witnessing daily attacks on our nation’s oil and gas industry which put our citizens at risk of going without electric power and our country in jeopardy of destruction from our international enemies.  …

__ Sacrifice and leadership are words that no longer typify “public servants” in Washington, D.C. We literally have elected officials who show disdain for our military. Patriots who put their lives on the line for their country have been displaced by money-grubbing, power-hungry folks who could care less. …

John and Darlene McNabb at Mount Vernon, the home of Founding Father and first President of the United States George Washington.

__ Last year, I finished my book “A Nice Ride: Stories of America.” Featured in its pages are friends, colleagues and squadron mates who are not with us today. Their young lives were taken in the spring of innocent youth. …

__ I grew up in the mountains of southern West Virginia in a family with very little education but with plenty of grit and love for America. This was coal mine country. In my family, eighteen of my relatives perished in coal mine accidents and my grandfather’s brother, a mine superintendent, was murdered on his front porch during one of the many mine wars endemic to the Appalachian coal fields back in the day. …

__ The future is daunting, but if we prevail it will be because the path ahead was cleared for us by our relatives and friends who willingly made the ultimate sacrifice so that we and our descendants can live in God-given freedom.

‘The unique moral characteristic of taking action and providing leadership even when inclined not to and with no tangible reciprocal benefit has been a pattern in the unique life story of John McNabb. …’

The Free Press Foundation has supported the resurgence of high quality, independent news operations throughout the United States and helped establish the Free Press International News Service in 2019. Among the exclusive editorial content initiatives by the Free Press Media Group are:

  • Investigative reports and analysis from Washington, DC.
  • ‘Inside China’, ‘Inside North Korea’ and other international reports from a UN correspondent and the weekly Intelligence Briefing,
  • The unique and hard-hitting ‘Corporate Watch’ feature, and
  • Exclusive coverage of the geostrategic U.S.-China space race.

Related: Media entrepreneur is awarded the 2022 Press Freedom Prize, August 9, 2022

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