Bill Austin (left), shaking hands with President Calderon (second from left).

President Felipe Calderon recently presented the prestigious Azteca Eagle Award to Bill Austin, CEO and founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, at the Presidential Palace Los Pinos in Mexico City.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican Government to a noncitizen and was presented to Austin in recognition of his humanitarian service to Mexico. The ceremony was held in honor of Mexico’s 200th Anniversary of independence celebration, held on September 16. US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis attended the event along with numerous heads of state from other countries.

Bill Austin, Tani Austin, Margarita Zavala (wife of President Calderon), and President Calderon.

The Foundation has been carrying out missions annually throughout cities in Mexico since its inception in 1973. “Mexico was the start of our international outreach,” said Austin. “We partnered with Flying Samaritans in 1973 to deliver hearing aids to the underprivileged in various Mexican communities.” The demand for help throughout Mexico has increased over the past 35 years, with more than 100,000 hearing aids distributed to those in need.

Click here to view a video of the event on YouTube.

Four other US citizens have received the distinguished Azteca Award; Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ted Kennedy, and Bill and Melinda Gates. “I am very grateful to receive this honor in the name of the people who have made it possible,” said Austin. “No one can do much alone. It takes a team to significantly impact the challenges we face in life.”

[Source: Starkey Hearing Foundation]