NAB Education Foundation Fetes the Rocket Man

Sir Elton John will receive the Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation June 11 at the organization's ninth annual Service to America Gala. The award is given to "an individual who has performed extraordinary public service in bettering the lives of others," according to NAB.

John is being recognized for his involvement in raising nearly $120 million to fight HIV/AIDS.

"Sir Elton John has served as a beacon to the world in the fight against AIDS," said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr. "The NAB Education Foundation is proud to honor Sir Elton for his extraordinary dedication to eradicating this insidious disease."

The death of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contacted HIV through a blood transfusion and died 16 years ago at the age of 19, inspired Elton John. In 1992, he launched the Elton John AIDS Foundation in the United States. A year later, he based a likewise foundation out of the United Kingdom.

John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Middlesex, England in 1947. He emerged on the pop music scene as the eccentric and gifted pianist with "Your Song' in 1970. Between 1972 and 1976 he and collaborator Bernie Taupin had a string of hit songs that included "Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Honky Cat," "Crocodile Rock," and "Daniel."

Recent recipients of the Service to America Leadership Award include former President Bill Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, First Lady Laura Bush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Muhammad Ali, former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

The Service to America Awards are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from Bonneville International Corp. and NAB. Details about the Service to America Awards Gala are available at