Inaugural President's Award Unveiled at SAG-AFTRA National Convention
During the final day of the SAG-AFTRA National Convention in Los Angeles, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris unveiled the President's Award, an inaugural honor that celebrates someone who has given meritorious service to the union and its members. Mike Hodge, the late New York President, was posthumously selected to receive the first-ever award."Today I'm going to start a new SAG-AFTRA tradition: the presentation of the first President's Award, which recognizes exceptional service to the union," said Carteris."I am honored to present this award to Mike Hodge for his extraordinary service, dedication and commitment to the membership of SAG-AFTRA, and unionism in America. It only feels right that it should go to someone who worked so hard for the union. He will be sorely missed but we continue to feel his presence in the indelible mark he made on this union and all who came in contact with him. From merger to negotiations to the resources he brought to New York members, we are all better off for having shared this journey with him." SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon accepted the award on his behalf and said, "Mike Hodge would have been thrilled and humbled by this honor. He was an inspiration to not only the New York membership but to all of us in this union. I am happy to know that his memory will live on. As Ken Howard liked to say, he was 'the voice of god.' The important work he did for this union makes Mike the perfect first recipient of this award." An accomplished actor and stalwart unionist, Hodge passed away on September 9. He was 70. Hodge was a SAG-AFTRA National Board member since 2001, and was first elected New York president in 2009 and continued in that role until his death. He was instrumental in jumpstarting the effort that ultimately led to the merging of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in 2012. In 2013 and again in 2015, he was elected at the SAG-AFTRA National Convention to two-year terms as the union's National Vice President representing New York. About SAG-AFTRA SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.