General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Recognizes Winners in Pentagon Ceremony Today
Washington, DC, Thursday, September 20, 2012 – General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided remarks at the 13th annual Newman’s Own Award Ceremony at the Pentagon today, as awards totaling $100,000 were presented to six non-profit organizations for their innovative programs to improve military quality of life.
The Moonlight Fund Retreat, by The Moonlight Fund, received the highest honor and a $25,000 award. The Moonlight Fund aims to provide assistance to military in-patient burn and blast survivors and their families through a small, private retreat program, offering a stepping stone to good mental, emotional, and physical health. The profound and lasting positive impact is evident; several attendees return to volunteer, using the opportunity to give back, encourage and share their journey with others.
Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times (Gannett Government Media Corporation) sponsor the competition, which seeks to reward ingenuity for programs that benefit servicemen and women and their families.
General Dempsey was joined by Tom Indoe, President and Chief Operating Officer of Newman’s Own;Mary Jo Myers, Trustee of Fisher House Foundation; and Tobias Naegele, Editor in Chief at Military Times(Gannett Government Media Corporation), in presenting the awards.
“We have all been collaborating since 1999 with a primary mission: recognize these incredibly innovative and selfless ideas that help improve the quality of life for the military community and help make dreams possible. Newman’s Own is proud to be part of this worthwhile endeavor,” said Indoe.
Including this year’s awards, the annual competition that began in 1999 has recognized 145 programs with awards totaling $825,000.
A total of 164 entries were received for the 2012 program. Six judges evaluated each entry based on the organization’s impact to the respective communities, creativity and innovation.
Judges for the 2012 competition were:
Mrs. Deanie Dempsey - Spouse of General Martin E. Dempsey, USA
Mrs. Mary Winnefeld - Spouse of Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., USN
Mrs. Mary Jo Myers - Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
Mrs. Tammy Fisher - Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
Mr. Bill Lee - Assistant to the President, Newman’s Own
Mr. Mark Tilley - Director, Sales, Newman’s Own
Overall Winning Entry
“The Moonlight Fund Retreat”
The Moonlight Fund, Bandera, Texas
The Moonlight Fund Retreat program began in 2007, initiated at the request of burn unit caseworkers at Fort Sam Houston. In the past five years 29 retreats have been hosted. Events are kept small with an emphasis on the patients’ and their families’ biggest needs at the time. Visited by long-term burn survivors, the attendees are inspired to see others embracing life after a big burn. There is never the illusion that life will be the same, but that it can be enjoyed. Many miracles have been witnessed at the retreats: husbands and wives who have been torn apart by the accident find a quiet and peaceful place to reconnect; children, many for the first time since the accident, have the opportunity to play with their parents, and enjoy one-on-one time. They begin to feel like a family again. Solid friendships are formed among the attendees, and lifelong memories of campfire laughter, good stories and great food are made. For more information, contact Celia Belt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Wounded Warrior Program”
Our Military Kids, Inc., McLean, Virginia
Our Military Kids was founded in 2004 to provide support and recognition to children ages 3 through 12th grade. Although the primary mission was to provide grants to children of deployed National Guard and Reserves, it was quickly amended to include children of service members wounded in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The grants pay for fees associated with athletic, fine arts and tutoring programs. Our Military Kids’ grants keep military children engaged in activities of their choosing, helping to relieve the stress of separation from a parent by providing a positive distraction, minimizing emotional destabilization, building self-esteem and enabling academic achievement. For more information, contact Cecilia Kramer (email@example.com).
“Operation Renewed Hope Homes”
Operation Renewed Hope Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia
Operation Renewed Hope Foundation (ORHF) is a newly formed non-profit headquartered in Alexandria, Va. It is a Veteran-led organization providing quality housing and supportive services to homeless Veterans. Since inception in December 2011, ORHF helped numerous Veterans acquire or maintain housing through advocacy, interest-free loans and corporate leases, and it provided supportive services that include employment assistance and pro-bono medical and dental care. The foundation works with local government, individuals, businesses and non-profits to renovate and furnish donated and discounted properties in the DC Metro area. All efforts are geared towards the nationwide goal of preventing and ending homelessness among Veterans. For more information, contact Deborah Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Pets for Vets, Inc.”
Pets for Vets, Inc., Wilmington, North Carolina
Pets for Vets identifies veterans who could benefit from and care for a companion animal, and then pairs them with shelter pets that have been rescued, rehabilitated and trained for a specific veteran, all at no cost to the veteran. Pets for Vets is addressing the needs of returning servicemen and women suffering from PTSD, TBI, etc., but who do not qualify for a certified service animal. As many as 20 percent of returning military veterans suffer from PTSD, while up to 5 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year. Pets for Vets provides a second chance for both returning veterans and needy shelter dogs. These animals can make excellent companions but might not have that chance, and the soldiers receive a second chance at health and happiness. The bonds of friendship formed between man and animal have the power to ease the suffering of our troops when they return from overseas. The project gives veterans and shelter dogs a new chance at life; and helps our deserving veterans as they transition back to civilian life with their new companion animal. For more information, contact Ann Black (email@example.com).
“Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation”
Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, Apollo Beach, Florida
The Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) provides world-class outdoor sporting opportunities to our nation’s combat wounded Purple Heart recipients to assist in the healing process, welcome them home, and repay a debt of gratitude for the great sacrifices they have made. For more information, contact John McDaniel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show”
Brats Without Borders, Inc., Denver, Colorado
“UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show” is the first traveling museum exhibit exploring the life of a military child through art. Contemporary and cutting-edge, it’s mission is to educate and raise awareness of the Military Kid subculture and the lifelong impact on children; engender compassion and understanding between military and civilian communities; and honor the service and sacrifices of military children. “Kids serve, too” is not just a slogan. Military children make real sacrifices for our country and “UNCLASSIFIED” gives them a real artistic voice. Pictures say so much more than words, particularly when it comes to complicated emotions. Coping strategies that work well as a mobile child can be counterproductive as a rooted adult. Not all military children are resilient; some have more to overcome than others. The best way to improve the quality of life for military children is to understand their lives, and the best way to understand their lives is to listen to their stories and observe their artistic creations. “UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show” gives military kids an opportunity to do just that, and in the process, connect with their subculture, families and communities. For more information, contact Donna Musil (info@USAbrat.org).
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About Newman's Own®, Inc.
Newman's Own, Inc., founded by Paul Newman in 1982, offers more than 100 varieties of great-tasting, all-natural food and beverage products, including salad dressings, pasta sauces, salsa, thin & crispy frozen pizzas, frozen skillet meals, microwave popcorn, and refrigerated lemonades. Newman's Own Foundation continues Paul Newman's commitment to donate all profits to charity. More than $330 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982.
About Gannett Government Media
Gannett Government Media is a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is a global media company operating on multiple platforms, including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett Co. is an international news and information company that informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its powerful network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties (Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Military Times EDGE, Defense News, Federal Times, AFJ-Armed Forces Journal, C4ISR Journal, TSJ-Training & Simulation Journal). Gannett’s portfolio of trusted brands offers marketers unmatched local-to-national reach and customizable, innovative marketing solutions across any platform. Gannett is committed to connecting people – and the companies who want to reach them – with their interests and communities. For more information, visit www.gannettgov.com.
About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and Virginia medical centers. The Fisher Houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square-foot homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs, where families can stay while a loved one is receiving treatment. Additionally, the Foundation ensures that families of servicemen and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.
Located in close proximity to the medical center or hospital it serves, each Fisher House consists of between 8 and 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room, with a library and toys for children. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is no fee to stay in a Fisher House. Since inception, the program has saved military and veteran families an estimated $192 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Fisher House Foundation operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.
Contact: Cindy Campbell, Fisher House Foundation