PHOENIX - A tremendous honor for a Phoenix-area family at the Arizona Capitol Museum recently as they posthumously received the United States' highest civilian award.

Members of the Paul Burk Family accepted Congressional Gold Medals on behalf of Paul Burk, Sr., Frances Burk-Wheaton, and Phyllis Burk. The Burk family (father, daughter and daughter-in-law) served as members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in Michigan during World War II.

In 2014, Congress authorized the medals to be awarded to the nearly 200,000 civilians who served the U.S. as part of the Civil Air Patrol and Civil Defense organizations during the course of the war.

John Gruber, Sharon Franklin and Ben Franklin accepted the medals. At a ceremony at the State Capitol, each expressed how proud they were of their family's contribution to the war effort.

"It was the thing to do," Sharon Franklin said. "It was how they could help in at time of need in the country," she added.

The CAP's role during the war was providing vital border and coastal surveillance; as well as, search and rescue operations for downed military and civilian aircraft over land and sea.

The legislation signed by President Barack Obama stipulates that anyone who can document their service in the CAP during WWII is eligible for the medal.

Persons who feel they may qualify are urged to contact the Arizona CAP at: