Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner (left) and Chairman of the Heritage Board of Trustees Tom Saunders present former Vice President Cheney with the Clare Boothe Luce Award.

Former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, already enjoying a season of public reflection on more than four decades of service to the nation, last night received The Heritage Foundation’s top honor for contributions to the conservative movement.

The Heritage Board of Trustees presented the Clare Boothe Luce Award to Cheney, 70, at a banquet attended by more than 1,000 of Heritage’s biggest donors and supporters, capping their President’s Club gathering at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

“Dick Cheney has set a lifelong example of what it means to be a citizen, a leader and a patriot,” Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said before the ceremony.

The event featured a conversation between Feulner and Cheney, author of the new best-selling memoir “In My Time,” who also took questions posed by banquet guests.

Cheney “faced challenges with confidence, controversy with grace and success with humility,” said Heritage Board Chairman Thomas A. Saunders III, who joined Feulner in presenting the award. Throughout a remarkably demanding career, he added, Cheney “remained steadfastly faithful to conservative principles.”

In addition to his eight years as vice president under President George W. Bush, the award citation notes Cheney’s service as White House chief of staff to President Gerald Ford; as a six-term member of the House of Representatives; and as secretary of defense under President George H. W. Bush during the Persian Gulf War.

The Luce Award also salutes Cheney’s private service as trustee of another Washington think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. As chairman and CEO of Halliburton, the citation reads, he “directed far-reaching enterprises that served America’s energy needs and provided vital support services to America’s military.”

Past recipients of the Luce Award include Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, philanthropists Richard and Helen DeVos, and two celebrated brothers – William F. and James L. Buckley.