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Cartwright Lauds Nonprofit Groups for Military Support

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:

  • Military to Medicine, of Falls Church, Va., recruits and trains extended military family members to become workforce-ready health care employees. Its purpose is to help military spouses, wounded warriors and their caregivers, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members and service members transitioning to civilian employment find accessible short-term training with immediate career accessibility in health care.
  • Carolina Canines for Veterans, of Wilmington, N.C., provides trained dogs rescued from local shelters to assist wounded warriors. This program, launched by the Carolina Canines for Service organization, received $10,000 for its efforts.
  • Military Marriage Enrichment, of Corsicana, Texas, strengthens military marriages, enabling couples to better cope with the stressors of combat, wounds or multiple deployments. The program, created by Marriage Management Consultants Inc., received $10,000.
  • Empowering Military Families through Employment, a program of the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network of Lake St. Louis, Mo., features virtual training seminars that provide military-affiliated applicants job education and training needed to increase employment success. For its efforts, the organization received $10,000.
  • Project Sanctuary Therapeutic Retreats, of Parker, Colo., helps families reconnect following lengthy separations and deployments. The program begins with a free, five night therapeutic retreat using recreation as a form of diversion therapy. Project Sanctuary families enjoy year-round activities, such as hiking, skiing, horseback riding and sledding, in the Colorado Rocky Mountain region. This program received $10,000 to continue its efforts.
  • Operation Building Hope, of Fuquay-Varine, N.C., equips wounded veterans with a handicap-accessible home. The program uses an all-volunteer work force to construct and install ramps and rails, modify bathrooms, lower countertops and widen doorways. The program, created by the Military Missions in Action organization, received $10,000.
  • Books on Bases, Smiles on Faces, of Alexandria, Va., supplies books to military families to assist them in developing their children's reading skills. Blue Star Families Inc. created this program, which received an $8,000 award.
  • Kids Blossom through Gardening is a program created by the Dover Air Force Base Key Spouse Club of Dover, Del., to enhance the health and wellness of airmen and their families by decreasing overweight and obesity through community gardening. This program received a $2,000 award.

"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.

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