Don Kirchoffner, 2013 Legacy Honoree (Posthumously)

Don Kirchoffner, Legacy (Posthumously)

Don Kirchoffner was an accomplished executive known for creating and implementing strategic communications. He was a driving force behind a number of high-profile media campaigns, crisis management situations and public outreach programs–both in the United States and overseas. Following a distinguished 26-year career with the United States Army, Don completed his military service in 1992 as chief of media relations for the Department of the Army with the rank of Colonel.

During his military career, Don was the first public affairs officer on the ground following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces and served as the director of communication for Kurdish Relief Operations in Northern Iraq following the war. In addition, he was the director of communications for three hostage release operations and handled Department of Defense efforts during the Los Angeles Riots.

During the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Don was very visible as European Command’s deputy public affairs officer. Don also served as the senior director of communications for all federal relief efforts during Hurricane Andrew and supervised more than 40 federal, military and nonprofit public affairs personnel. He was previously the director of communications for the Biomedical Services Division of the American Red Cross. He also served as vice president of communications with Commonwealth Edison in Chicago.

Don was a past president of PRSA’s Chicago Chapter and a member of the Arthur W. Page Society. In 2000, he was inducted into the Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame. In addition, he served as a board member of the Army Public Affairs Alumni Association. The Association recognized him with the Joe Galloway Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions in improving the professionalism of the career field and his active role as a mentor to many Army PR professionals.

In 2006, the Chicago PRSA Chapter named him its “Public Relations Professional of the Year.” In 2009, the Colorado Chapter honored Don with the Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Don graduated from St. John’s University. He also held a master’s in public administration from the University of Georgia.

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