General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Recognizes Winners in Pentagon Ceremony
WASHINGTON, DC — General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided remarks at the 16th annual Newman’s Own Awards Ceremony at the Pentagon today, as awards totaling $200,000 were presented to six non-profit organizations for their innovative programs to improve military quality of life.
Operation Mend received the highest honor and a $50,000 award. Located in Los Angeles, Operation Mend is a public-private partnership that connects the military’s resources with the skills of surgical and medical specialists at the University of California at Los Angeles, providing complex surgeries and mental health care for service members in a family-centered environment. The program covers all costs associated with the patients’ care that are not covered by health insurance, including travel to Los Angeles, housing, care coordination, and psychological and social services.
Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times sponsor the annual competition, which seeks to reward ingenuity for programs that benefit service men and women and their families.
General Dempsey was joined by Mike McGrath, Chief Executive Officer of Newman’s Own, Inc.; Jeffrey Smith, Vice President of Operations of Newman’s Own, Inc.; Ken Fisher, Chairman & CEO of Fisher House Foundation; and Alex Neill, Executive Editor of Military Times, in presenting the awards.
"Every day our military service members and their families face unique challenges that come with their dedication to serving our nation," said McGrath. "We are proud to support organizations that help make a difference in our military community."
Including this year’s awards, the annual competition that began in 1999 has recognized 164 programs with awards totaling $1,325,000.
Over 300 entries were submitted for the 2015 program. Six judges evaluated each entry based on the organization’s impact to the respective communities, creativity and innovation.
Judges for the 2015 competition were:
|Mrs. Mary Winnefeld||Spouse of Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., USN|
|Mrs. Tammy Fisher||Trustee, Fisher House Foundation|
|Mrs. Suzie Schwartz||Trustee, Fisher House Foundation|
|Mrs. Lynne Pace||Trustee, Fisher House Foundation|
|Mr. Jeffrey Smith||Vice President of Operations, Newman’s Own|
|Mr. Mark Tilley||Director, Sales, Newman’s Own|
Overall Winning Entry
UCLA Operation Mend, Los Angeles, CA
Established in 2007, Operation Mend is a unique public-private partnership that connects the best of the military’s resources with the skills of exceptional surgical and medical specialists at UCLA to provide a collaborative and comprehensive approach to healing wounded post-9/11 service members. Operation Mend’s success has been marked not only through its surgical achievements, but also through its embedded psychological health and community support programs for the service member/veteran and his or her family. All services are provided at no cost to the participants, and the team takes incredible pride in tailoring each patient’s care and providing a truly seamless experience to optimize healing—body, mind, and spirit. For more information, contact Melissa MacRae or visit www.operationmend.ucla.edu.
Zero Day Innovation Center
Zero Day, Inc., Dewitt, MI
Zero Day provides necessary training and support services for Veterans toward their attainment of a self-sufficient and independent lifestyle. This includes a plan for life’s basic needs including employment, housing, transportation and health care. Zero Day functions as a community development entity, a job incubator, and a provider of quality affordable housing. We provide ACCREDITED vocational training, life skills mentoring, licensed therapy support, job coaching and placement, as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for Veterans to become business owners. For more information, contact Steve Sandstedt or visit www.zero-day.us.
Adaptive Vans Award Program
Helping Our Military Heroes, Easton, CT
Help our Military Heroes (HOMH) is dedicated to providing fully equipped, adaptive minivans to the country’s most severely wounded, injured and ill service men and women who sustained their injuries while on active duty since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began. HOMH is donation driven; all non-program expenses are paid by its founding and board members, which means 100% of public donations go toward the purchase of modifies minivans for our heroes, as well as support for other programs that help the wounded and injured. For more information, contact Ted Hollander or visit www.helpourmilitaryheroes.org.
Southwestern Illinois College Foundation, Belleville, IL
Recognizing that veterans’ benefits may not be sufficient to cover childcare costs for nontraditional students, Southwestern Illinois College and Kids’ Club will provide free childcare services for military parents who are enrolled in college. Children will participate in high quality, research-based programs while their parents attend college classes to advance their career prospects. Family events and parenting workshops will also be provided on campus. Parents and children will have access to free tutoring to help overcome any academic challenges. For more information, contact Suzette Hechst or visit www.swic.edu/kidsclub.
Tech for Troops Project
Tech for Troops Project, Richmond, VA
Tech For Troops Project (T4TP) provides refurbished computers to veterans, enabling them to connect with employers and develop critical computer skills. Veterans receive free computers through other local non-profits that partner with Tech For Troops Project in the Central VA Region. The only requirement is the individual is a veteran and in need of a computer. In addition to providing computers, Tech For Troops Project hires veteran to support the growing demand of recipients as well as provide technical training to local veterans. Technology donations to Tech For Troops Project are evaluated for reuse for veterans and are also recycled. Keeping usable computers out of landfills and recycling all unusable electronics have benefited the local environment as well as provided funding to support the organization. Volunteer driven, T4TP was initiated after a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) business student saw first-hand veterans struggling to find work after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The program has been expanded to help all Central VA veterans, giving them a tool to connect with family, benefit services and employment. Ultimately, the goal is to help a veteran reach out and find a better quality of life. For more information, contact Kelly O’Connor or visit www.techfortroopsproject.org.
A Home for Healing
Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, Bozeman, MT
Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW) serves the nation’s traumatically combat-injured OIF/OEF/OND veterans and active service members experiencing challenges with mental health, relationships, transitioning to civilian life, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. At the heart of WQW’s therapeutic fly fishing programs is the lodging out of which they are based. With ADA-compatible renovations, a permanent Home for Healing ensures warriors and their spouses get the proper level of comfort and security in which to promote healing and rebuild resilience in a setting far removed from hospitals, doctors, and the rigors of combat. A permanent home eliminates the occurrence of qualified participants being told to "reapply next year" at a time in their lives when intervention may literally be key to their survival. For more information, contact Emily Wallace or visit www.warriorsandquietwaters.org.
About Newman’s Own®, Inc.
Newman’s Own, Inc., founded by Paul Newman in 1982, offers great tasting, high quality food and beverage products, including salad dressings, pasta sauces, frozen pizza, salsa, frozen skillet meals, refrigerated lemonades, cookies, snacks and pet food. Newman’s Own Foundation continues Paul Newman’s commitment to use all royalties and profits that it receives from the sale of its food products for charitable purposes. Over $430 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982. For more information, visit www.newmansown.com.
About Military Times
The Military Times newsweeklies and digital platforms are the trusted source for independent news and information for service members and their families. The military community relies on the Army Times, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times and Air Force Times for reporting on everything important to their lives, including: pay, benefits, finance, education, health care, recreational resources, retirement, promotions, product reviews, and entertainment. Military Times is published by Sightline Media Group. To learn more, visit www.militarytimes.com
About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $282 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Fisher House Foundation also 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: Kerri Childress, Fisher House Foundation
Contact: Alison Rappaport for Newman’s Own, Inc.
Contact: Christine Aquino for Military Times