Joe Diffie will receive the American Spirit Award from the Ladies Auxiliary to Veterans of Foreign Wars at the group’s national convention Thursday (Aug. 24) in Milwaukee. The honor recognizes philanthropic efforts and includes a $3,000 grant. For eight years, Diffie has organized Country Steps in for First Steps, a concert and silent auction that raises money for Nashville’s First Steps school for mentally and physically disabled children. Diffie’s son, Tyler, has Down syndrome and was once a student there. So far the singer’s efforts have raised $600,000 for the school. Other celebrities who have been recognized with the American Spirit Award include Neil Armstrong, Richard Nixon, John Wayne, Gene Autry and Barbara Walters. After he picks up the accolade, Diffie will travel to Weyauwega, Wisc., for a scheduled show Friday night (Aug. 25).