The Department of Defense announced today the presentation of $50,000 in grants by the Fisher House Foundation to 16 volunteer organizations for their innovative programs to improve military quality of life.
Charles S. Abell, the principal deputy under secretary of defense (Personnel and Readiness), joined Kenneth Fisher, chairman of the foundation; Tom Indoe, chief operating officer of Newmans Own; and Dave Smith, vice president of the Military Times Media Group, in an Aug. 24 ceremony in the Pentagons Hall of Heroes, where recipients of the fifth annual Newmans Own Awards were honored for their efforts.
Angels of Mercy, which was judged as the best entry and will receive a $10,000 grant, is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 270 of McLean, Va. It supports wounded and injured Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) service members and their families by visiting them at Walter Reed
Fifteen other organizations shared $40,000 in grants, including two $5,000 grants for Camp Flashhh, a free program for children with special needs and their families at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the Lindsay Project, sponsored by Parents Advocating for Vocational Education at Fort Lewis, Wash., which is named after a young child with special needs, who could not participate in community events.
The $4,000 grants include: Operation Interdependence, a civilian-to-military delivery system administered by a Fallbrook, Calif., nonprofit organization, which streamlines the delivery of packages to deployed service members; Handy Man Hotline Materials, a program of the Connecticut National Guard Family Program, which reduces stressors on families of deployed Guardsmen by having everyday household problems diagnosed and repaired or referred to competent businesses at no cost for the labor; USA Cares, a Radcliff, Ky., nonprofit, which works to compliment an overburdened network of both information and financial support to service men and women and their families, while protecting the privacy and dignity of the individual; and Camp Wonderland, sponsored by the Missouri National Guard Wonderland Foundation, which is a volunteer organization comprised of current and retired members of the Missouri National Guard and their families.
The $3,000 grants include: Operation Gratitude, which is a California National Guard affiliated nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that sends care packages and letters of support to service members deployed overseas.
The $2,000 grants include: Glory Boots and Pay It Forward, both programs of the Mothers of Military Support of the 81st Armor Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash., which became a distributor of desert boots with sewn soles and ankle support that are sent to deployed unit members and a conduit for the public to purchase gift cards that given anonymously to families of deployed service members; United Through Reading, a program sponsored by the Family Literacy Foundation of San Diego, Calif., which facilitates supportive relationships for children through families and friends reading aloud to them; and Adoptaplatoon, a Kingston, N.H., nonprofit organization, which promotes morale lifting mail, care packages and other support measures to deployed service men and women through platoon moms and thousands of volunteers.
The $1,000 grants include: Operation Hero, a program of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA, which is a free eight-week after school enrichment program for children of armed services personnel to help them succeed in school and to help them develop self-esteem through counseling from trained social workers and individualized homework assistance; Family Support Center School Supplies, a program of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Mt. Hood, Ore., which works with the children of the activated members of the 939th Air Refueling Wing and 304th Rescue Squadron based in the Portland; Missoula Childrens Theater, the nations largest childrens theater program, and the William T. Sampson Elementary School Parent Teachers Organization from Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which requested a grant to help pay for a team of actors and directors and their equipment to develop and produce a full-scale musical with 40-50 military children in the cast; Cannon Enlisted Spouses Club is a group of enlisted spouses, who share common Air Force bonds like deployments, family separations and adjusting to new bases, promote fellowship and serve as a resource for others at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; Andrews Home Educators is a nonprofit support group made up of home school families, who are affiliated with Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
In addition to the monetary awards, the judges selected three organizations for honorable mention, including: Cadet for a Day, sponsored by volunteers from the 34th Operations Support Squadron, US Air Force Academy; Road Dawg Support, sponsored by the Family Readiness Group of the 846th Transportation Company, a North Carolina Army Reserve unit; and Looking In, Reaching Out, USA Girl Scouts Overseas Pacific.