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Non-Profit Groups Receive $50,000 Grants at Pentagon Ceremony

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2003 – Fourteen non-profit organizations today received a total of $50,000 in grants for programs they created to improve quality of life for military members, their families and communities.

The grants, sponsored in part by actor Paul Newman, were handed out during the Newman's Own Award for Military Community Excellence at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

The award, named for the actor's famous salad dressings, recognizes non-profit programs that improve the quality of life for military members, their families and communities.

Newman's Own Inc., the Fisher House Foundation and the Military Times Media Group sponsored the awards. The Fisher Foundation builds "safe houses" at military installations worldwide; the Military Times Media Group publishes the Army, Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force Times newspapers.

Charles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, hosted the event. He was joined by Kenneth Fisher, chairman, Fisher House Foundation; Tom Indoe, chief operating officer of Newman's Own; and Elaine Howard, president, Military Times Media Group.

Abell noted the grants as "investments in our future." "I am struck by how many organizations and activities are being recognized today. My hat is off to the Military Times, Newman's Own and the Fisher Foundation for their philanthropy here. They are committed folks, committed organizations, committed to helping our service men and women, and their families. We're the beneficiaries and we appreciate it."

A total of 100 entries were received for the awards. Six judges, two from each of the sponsoring organizations, evaluated each entry based on the organization's impact on the respective communities, creativity and innovation. Each organization submitting an entry will receive a certificate of recognition from Paul Newman.

"In my view there are no losers here," Abell said. "The process itself recognizes the goodness of the 100 organizations whose efforts were submitted," he added.

"The application process causes them to focus on what they are doing, to look at resources and how they are using them and it also highlights what they doing in their local community, (these) are all very positive things," Abell said.

The overall award winner was a program called "School Supplies." The program received a $10,000 grant and is sponsored by the Mount Hood Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The program helps defray the cost of school supplies, school clothing, and Christmas gifts for the families of the deployed reservists of the 939th Air Refueling Wing at the Air Guard Base in Portland, Oregon.

Other programs that received grants ranging from $2,000-$5,000 included:

"Adoptaplatoon," submitted by the not-for-profit Adoptaplatoon organization of Kingston, New Hampshire. This program promotes morale-lifting mail, care packages and other support measures for deployed soldiers. A platoon "mom" is appointed for each deploying unit, and that person serves as the link between the unit and a sponsoring middle or high school class.

"Pilot for a Day," submitted by Training Squadron 35 at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, improves the lives of seriously ill pediatric patients from Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"Summer Camp Adventure," which helps to meet the needs of military children enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program, is a joint effort of the Armed Services YMCA and Family Advocacy staffs at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina.

"Operation Warm Heart," sponsored the First Sergeants' Association of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The programs assist both military and civilian personnel at Beale, by providing financial assistance and emotional support during times of need and transition.

"Scholarship Program," administered by the Fort George G. Meade, Maryland Enlisted Spouses Club, funds $1,000 educational grants for military children at the installation.

"Military Family Outreach," a program of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA provides in-home crisis counseling to junior enlisted military personnel and their families who may be experiencing social, emotional, economic, situational or physical problems.

"Read to Lead," is a program to help "at risk" students in grades K-3 at the Iroquois Point Elementary School foster and develop reading skill. The Family Readiness Group of the 1st Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii sponsors the program.

"Project Home Sweet Home," is a program sponsored by the Newburgh Heights Firefighters Association in cooperation with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23, Detachment 1323 located at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Akron, Ohio. Volunteers from both organizations donate labor to provide emergency repairs to homes and vehicles of deployed Reservists in northern Ohio.

"Missoula Children's Theater," is the nation's largest children's theater program. The theater group will use the grant money to pay for a team of actors and directors and their equipment along with about 50 military children to travel to Guantanamo Cuba. There the group will develop and produce a full-scale musical. The William T. Sampson Elementary School Parent Teachers Organization, Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay sponsor the theater group.

"ACCESS," an acronym for "Eagle Army Compassionate Cancer Education Support Services, is a support group for children undergoing cancer treatment. The Blanchfield Army Community Hospital medical department auxiliary, Fort Campbell, Kentucky sponsors the program.

"Lucius Scholarship Program," sponsored by the US Marine Corps Food Service Association, Jacksonville, Arkansas, awards college scholarships to family members of Marine Corps food service professionals.

"A Red, White, and Blue Salute to the Military Wife," is an annual one-day event to show appreciation for Army wives at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Fort Benning Officers Spouses' Club sponsors the event.

"Baby Bundle," a Fort Drum, New York Enlisted Spouses' Club program brings together all the resources needed by junior enlisted service members with a newborn.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageCharles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, presents Ms. Robin Hammond with the Newman's Own Award for Community Excellence, July 22, 2003, at the Pentagon. Ms. Hammond's organization, Daughters of the American Revolution, created a program called "School Supplies" which helps defray the cost of school supplies for families of deployed reservists at the 939th Air Refueling Wing, Portland Oregon. The program received a $10,000 grant for its efforts.  
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