ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — State Sen. Frank Simpson (R-District 14) has been honored with the Oklahoma National Guard's highest civilian award, the Thunderbird Medal, for his support and legislative contributions.

During Simpson's nearly 12 years in the Senate, he has authored numerous bills to help support Oklahoma's military members, veterans, and their families.

"They still have jobs and homes and things here in Oklahoma that they have to take care of, but they still answer the call of duty, and we try to do as much as we can for the national guard," Simpson said. 

His efforts have helped improve services at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. His work has led to the establishment of peer-supported veteran drop-in centers and another cemetery for military members.

"Veterans issues have always been No. 1 on my radar," Simpson said. "Being a retired Navy officer myself, I've always had a keen interest in veterans issues, and I knew there was a lot of work to be done in Oklahoma to meet the needs of our veterans, and I've been able — working my colleagues — have been able to do a lot of great things helping veterans in our state."

The Oklahoma National Guard honored Simpson on the Senate floor with the Thunderbird Medal to thank him for making a difference for military members and their families.

"Senator Simpson has been a great friend not only to the guard but also the active-duty reserve component," Oklahoma National Guard Public Affairs Officer Geoff Legler said. "This was awarded to him as some recognition for being there for all of the military in this country, not just the Oklahoma National Guard."

Simpson is the first senator to be honored with the Oklahoma Thunderbird Medal.