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For over thirteen years, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation has been one of the nation’s top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. 

Policy Orientation 2016 will be held January 6-8 at the Hilton Austin. For more information and to register, please visit policyorientation.com.
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Sgt Dakota Meyer USMC

Medal of Honor Recipient & New York Times Best-Selling Author of "Into the Fire"

Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer is a United States Marine Corps veteran, the recipient of the Medal of Honor – the military’s highest honor, and the New York Times best-selling author of Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War. He is also an entrepreneur, having founded a successful construction company in Kentucky.

Meyer earned his medal for his actions during the Battle of Ganjigal, which was part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He is the first living Marine to have received the medal since 1973 and one of the youngest. Humble and soft-spoken, Meyer insists that he is not a hero, and that any Marine would do the same thing. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau for lectures, he addresses inspiration, motivation, courage, leadership, believing in yourself, doing what is right, and what happened that day in Afghanistan.

The Attack. In September 2009, three U.S. Marines, a U.S. Navy corpsman, and Afghan soldiers went missing in Afghanistan after being ambushed by 50 insurgents. Defying orders, Meyer went into the “killing zone” to help. Through five successive missions over the course of six hours, he helped save the lives of many American and Afghan troops. Meyer also found the bodies of the four missing men, and, with the help of some friendly Afghan soldiers, he moved the bodies to a safer area where they could be extracted. Meyer suffered shrapnel wounds to his arm, and, despite his heroic efforts, he did not expect to survive the battle. “I wasn’t really thinking I could die, it was just a matter of when,” he said. “I never thought I was going to come out…[but] that’s what Marines do.” He was only 21 at the time.

The Award. During a ceremony on September 15, 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Meyer with the Medal of Honor. Obama stated that Meyer is incredibly down-to-earth, saying that when he tried to tell him that he would be receiving the award, Meyer didn’t take the call. Meyer was working a new job in construction and asked the president to call him back another time. Obama jokingly recounted that Meyer said, “If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.” The president called him back during his lunch break and thanked him for taking the call. “Dakota is the kind of guy who gets the job done,” Obama stated. He and Meyer had talked over beers the day before the award ceremony. Meyer was also inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon and honored with a parade.

Civilian Life. With his return to civilian life, Meyer has become an advocate for our country’s veterans. He partnered with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to raise $1 million and issued the “Dakota Meyer Scholarship Challenge to America” to match his efforts. He worked with Toyota and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch the Personal Branding initiative of the Hiring Our Heroes Program to help military veterans and transitioning service members better market themselves to employers. Meyer also wrote a book, Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War, which details his journey from a young man raised on a cattle farm in Kentucky to a true American hero. It tells the full story of the chaotic Ganjigal battle for the first time in a compelling, human way, revealing it as a microcosm of our recent wars.

My Speakers Sessions

Wednesday, January 6