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Arizona aid worker Kayla Mueller posthumously honored for courage

In this May 30, 2013, file photo, Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Daily Courier, Jo. L. Keener, File)

PHOENIX — A humanitarian aid worker from Arizona who was captured and held by the Islamic State group until her death in 2015 was recently honored with an award for courage and leadership.

Kayla Mueller was posthumously awarded the McCain Institute’s Award for Courage and Leadership, The Daily Courier reported. Her parents, Carl and Marsha, accepted the award at a ceremony in New York City on Nov. 10.

During the ceremony, Kurt Volker, the executive director at the McCain Institute, said Mueller embodied what it meant to be “generous, compassionate and, above all, to possess tremendous courage.”

“For her service to communities in need and for her grace in enduring unspeakable trials, the McCain Institute is pleased to honor her legacy with the Award for Courage and Leadership,” Volker said.

Mueller’s parents Carl and Marsha also gave a few words during the ceremony, saying that Kayla would be “deeply humbled and honored” by the award.

“It is difficult for most of us to imagine summoning the courage, despite another day of torture, captivity and uncertainty; to be able to live into the belief that as a hostage one could retain the freedom to be principled and compassionate.

“Our hope is that Kayla continues to inspire others to lead a bold and courageous life dedicated to freedom, justice and peace in the ways the McCain family, the McCain Institute and the past recipients of this distinguished award have inspired countless others,” they said.

Mueller was working for an non-governmental organization in Turkey that supported Syrian refugees when she was taken hostage in 2013.

Mueller was reported dead in 2015 after the Islamic State group claimed the Prescott native was killed in a retaliatory airstrike launched by Jordan. U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed the death shortly after.

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