WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2011 — Volunteer organizations that improve the lives of service members and their families must continue their leadership in today’s challenging times, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today at the Newman’s Own Foundation Awards ceremony held in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Six nonprofit military support organizations were awarded a total of $75,000 for their work to better the lives of service members and their families courtesy of Newman’s Own Foundation and the event’s cosponsors: the Fisher House Foundation and Military Times. “We must make sure these programs continue and expand to make a difference for our military and their families,” Mullen told the audience of Defense Department officials and nonprofit military organizations.
“The families of the fallen, families whose lives have changed forever, and the veterans who are coming back by the hundreds of thousands must be cared for,” Mullen continued. “The veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will return to the communities and we’ve got to contact them [to] make sure they’re going to be OK.”
The nation’s military veterans have kept Americans safe, Mullen said.
“And we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make their lives better,” he added.
The chairman thanked the 186 organizations that competed for the awards and the six that took top honors. Mullen’s wife, Deborah, was among the judges, which also included Lynne Pace, wife of retired Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, a former JCS chairman, and Mary Jo Myers, wife of retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, also a former JCS chairman.
“It was tough competition and that’s a good thing,” Mullen said. “Thank you for your consistent, persistent dedication.”
Mullen praised the military-support work of sponsors Ken Fisher and his family of the Fisher House Foundation, the Military Times staff, and Newman’s Own Foundation.
The six winning organizations received amounts totaling $75,000, with the Knights of Heroes Summer Camp, Knights of Heroes Foundation, in Colorado Springs, Colo., taking the highest honor and corresponding $15,000 award.
The Knights of Heroes Summer Camp supports boys and girls who lost their fathers to the war. It is a one-on-one mentoring program for children between the ages of 11 and 17 who are invited to attend at no cost.
Organizations awarded $12,000 include:
— Little Heroes, of the Armed Services YMCA, Fort Campbell, Ky., offers a school program for 3- and 4-year-old children of deployed military parents.
— Teddy’s Child Watch, of Armed Services YMCA of Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, is a child care service available at no cost to service members and immediate family while attending appointments at the hospital.
— National Guard Employment Program, Helping our Heroes at Home, of the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, Lake St. Louis, Mo. helps military spouses, wounded warriors and their caregivers.
— Emergency Subsidies, Military Women in Need, Los Angeles, provides housing assistance and resource and referral services..
— Wounded Warrior Family Care Program, Quality of Life Foundation, Woodbridge, Va., develops and implement strategies to improve the quality of life for those individuals affected by limiting barriers.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)