Credit: Norman Jean RoyJon Bon Jovi was presented with the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s 2017 Service to America Leadership Award at the organization’s Celebration of Service to America Awards gala, held Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

The New Jersey rocker received the prestigious honor for his efforts aiding homeless, hungry and poverty-stricken people, including his work as chairman of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

In accepting the award, Bon Jovi discussed his philosophy behind his charitable work.

“There is a misconception that homelessness is a choice. I have yet to meet a homeless person who strived to achieve that,” the singer said. “We must all work together to remove the labels ‘Us and Them.’ Inspiration and hope mixed with a little perspiration can change a life forever.”

A video message from President Barack Obama played during the event, congratulating Bon Jovi on his award.

“I wish I could be there with all of you to help honor someone who’s become a great friend of mine, Jon Bon Jovi,” Obama says in the clip. “When you meet Jon and [his wife] Dorothea and talk to them for a while, one thing you’re struck by is how sincere they are about the idea that in this country success means more than just fame or fortune, success means having the ability to reach back and pull others up along with you.”

Also during the gala, a video presentation narrated by Gayle King saluting Jon and profiling the JBJ Soul Foundation’s various initiatives was screened. The short film features testimonials from New Jersey Senator Corey Booker, celebrity chef Mario Batali and others.

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