The Potomac Hundred Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution awarded the Americanism medal to Lt. Col. Stephen William Homoki Sept. 24.
The medal is one of the most prestigious awards given by the DAR. The recipient must be an adult "who has exhibited extraordinary qualities of leadership, trustworthiness, service and patriotism."
The award was given at a dinner hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Titus in Chevy Chase, with 45 chapter members and friends.
Homoki was born in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1941. He and his family survived several allied bombings there and in other cities in Hungary, but escaped the advancing Soviet forces in 1945, settling as displaced persons in southern Germany. The family remained in Germany until they immigrated to the United States with no money, settling in New Brunswick, N.J.
Homoki graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a B.A. in liberal arts. He became a naturalized citizen in 1959.
Having been in the Air Force ROTC, Homoki entered active duty in January of 1965 and served in the military for 22 years. He logged more than 610 hours of combat flying, earning a Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
He completed air command and Staff College as a distinguished graduate and was assigned to Allied Air Forces Central Europe, where he was instrumental in developing war plans using heavy bombers on real-time targets supported by tankers.
He once stated that his reason for joining the military was to ensure that neither he nor his family ever lost another country. He finished his Air Force career at the Pentagon on the joint staff where he regularly briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While living in the Washington, D.C. area, Homoki became involved with the Hungarian Embassy. He and his wife, Zee, were especially interested in assisting young multi-talented Hungarian musicians and artists and helped the embassy bring young Hungarians to the United States on cultural tours. They have helped other Hungarians immigrate to America and continue to host Hungarians as they visit the United States.
Zee and Stephen Homoki retired to Aiken, S.C., where they are active in community organizations. They have one daughter, Liz, a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the George Mason School of Law.