Cunard's Distinguished Service Award (L-R): Ronald L. Oswald, chairman, National Maritime Historical Society (NMHS); Richard du Moulin, overseer, NMHS; Stanley Birge, vice president, North America, Cunard Line; Richard Scarano, trustee, NMHS and owner, Scarano BoatbuildingCunard Line made history last Wednesday at the National Maritime Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner in New York when it became the first company ever to receive the Society’s Distinguished Service Award for its outstanding contributions and efforts to promote maritime heritage.

Former DSA recipients include Op-Sail founders Frank Braynard and Howard Slotnick, Amistad godfather Warren Marr, former Secretaries of the Navy, Author Clive Cussler, Ted Turner and Walter Cronkite.

Held each fall in the Model Room of the historic New York Yacht Club, the ceremony distinguishes industry leaders, who through their personal efforts and creativity have made honourable impacts to the maritime field. Stanley Birge, vice president of North America for Cunard Line, was joined by a number of maritime industry guests, including historians, authors, business owners, Travel Agents, port services professionals, the United States Coast Guard, and media journalists.

This year’s recipients also included Stan Honey, director of technology for America’s Cup Event Authority, and Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz of the United States Coast Guard, the first woman in American history to head a military service academy.

“We are truly honoured to be recognized among such an elite group of maritime dignitaries and believe it is in large part due to organizations like the NMHS that Cunard continues to thrive today, especially in this rapidly changing world,” said Stanley Birge, vice president, North America, for Cunard Line. “As a union of people who represent a variety of expertise, we feel it is with the basis of contributions, such as those of Mr. Honey and Rear Admiral Stosz that Cunard can continue to drive the future of what ocean liner travel is meant to be.”

“It was most fitting that we presented Cunard with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award,” said Burchenal Green, president of the National Maritime Historical Society.  "With a history spanning nearly 175 years, Cunard exudes a passion for the importance of not only preserving its illustrious maritime heritage, but also to contemporizing the legacy for today’s maritime and ocean voyage enthusiasts with their modern fleet of three Queens.”