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Elaine Wilson, Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs
WASHINGTON - Sepember 2, 2010 Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lauded eight nonprofit organizations for their efforts to improve the quality of life for service members and their families during the 11th Annual Newman's Own Awards ceremony held here Sept. 1.
The volunteer-based organizations received awards totaling $75,000, with Inova Health System Foundation's Military to Medicine program taking the highest honor and corresponding $15,000 award.
The behind-the-scenes contributions of these organizations are every bit as valuable as the more visible contributions of those in uniform, Cartwright noted.
"For those who go out and sacrifice in a very overt way, there are those that serve in very different way, but equally as important," the general said. "What you have done is no less important to the legacy of this country."
The character of service has changed drastically in recent decades, Cartwright noted. He recalled the lack of welcome he received upon return from service in the 1970s, and of his family living in an age of "If we wanted you, we would have issued you a family."
But today, all who serve – whether active, reserve, civilian or contractor – are coming back to this country and becoming the "legacy of our future," Cartwright said.
"They will make each one of us proud," he said.
Cartwright said he attributed this change, in part, to the volunteers in attendance that are part of a much larger population providing unwavering support to the nation's service members.
"To each of you, both here and in representation, I think it makes all the difference in the world between when I came home in the '70s and when I come home today," he said. "You are wonderful people."
Newman's Own, Fisher House Foundation and Military Times Media Group sponsored the competition, which attracted 138 entries this year. Judges evaluated each entry based on the organization's impact on the community, and for creativity and innovation.
Among the judges were Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the general's wife, Sandee Cartwright.
The Newman's Own Award was presented to the following programs and organizations:
"It's a humbling thing to stand in the Hall of Heroes," said Daniel Nichols, executive director of Military to Medicine, upon receipt of his award. "It's also a humbling thing to have the privilege to serve people whose ordinary lives are transformed by extraordinary circumstance, as in the case of our military families."
Thomas Indoe, the president of Newman's Own Inc., and an Air Force veteran, thanked the military for embracing this award. Paul Newman was a Navy veteran, he said, and adorned his office with a picture of the men with whom he served.
"He loved this country and he loved the military," Indoe said. Newman felt the volunteers represented the best in America, he added.
Including this year's awards, the annual competition has recognized 133 programs with awards totaling $650,000 since its inception in 1999.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Indoe surprised the audience with a $100,000 donation to the Fisher House Foundation on behalf of Newman's Own.