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Altus Airman Zooms to Top Spot in Newman's Own Award Program

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2002 – Tech. Sgt. Brian K. Williams' "Pilot for a Day" at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., wins the $10,000 top prize in the 3rd annual Newman's Own Awards for Military Community Excellence competition.

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Tech. Sgt. Brian K. Williams discusses his "Pilot for a Day" program for seriously ill children at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., at the Newman's Own Military Community Excellence Awards ceremony July 10, 2002, at the Pentagon. Williams' program took the top prize of $10,000 in the third annual competition, sharing $50,000 in grants from the Newman's Own Co. with 14 other winners. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Williams heads one of the 15 volunteer organizations who share $50,000 in grants from the Newman's Own Co. Winners received their awards in a Pentagon ceremony today from John Molino, deputy assistant secretary of defense (military communities and family policy).

The awards program seeks to reward ingenuity and innovation for volunteer organizations working to improve military quality of life. Representing the sponsors were Ken and Tammy Fisher from Fisher House Foundation; Tom Indoe, chief operating officer of Newman's Own; and Dick Howell, marketing director of the Military Times Media Group.

Six judges, two from each of the sponsors, evaluated each entry based on the organization's creativity, innovation and impact on their communities. To be eligible, each organization had to certify that it was a private or nonprofit organization operating with authority of a military installation commander. A All the 132 organization that entered will receive a certificate of recognition from Paul Newman.

Williams, assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron at Altus conceived and administered "Pilot for a Day," which allows children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness to fulfill their dream of being an Air Force pilot for one day, using personnel, aircraft and a flight simulator from a C-17 flying squadron. The $10,000 grant will pay for uniforms and equipment given to each participating child, defray travel and billeting expenses to accommodate children from outlying areas, and help to expand the program to other air bases. For further information, contact Williams at Brian.Williams@altus.af.mil.  

  • "With Love from Me to You," submitted by the Norfolk (Va.) Public Library, received a $5,000 grant. directly supports sailors and Marines of Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek during deployments. The library purchased carefully selected books and developed coloring and activity sheets for each. The deployed service members make videos of themselves reading to their children, and the children can follow along by checking out the same book from the library. For further information, contact Cathy Heninger at cathy.heninger@norfolk.gov


  • "PDF Jr.," -- "Personnel Deployment Function" -- submitted by the Officer Spouses' Club at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, received a $5,000 grant. It grew from the rapid deployment of nearly 2,000 military members for Operation Enduring Freedom. It is a cooperative effort of the club, base and community organizations, and local schools, with the objectives of increasing understanding of deployments, decreasing negative stressors, and increasing safety and security for families. For further information, contact Cathy Hafer at chaferz2@email.msn.com


  • "Adoptaplatoon," submitted by the not-for-profit Adoptaplatoon organization of Kingston, N.H., received $4,000. The 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. For further information, contact Myron Dobson at hbuster@adoptaplatoon.org


  • "Operation H.U.G. a Marine or Sailor," also a $4,000 winner, was submitted by Humanitarians United for Giving at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The program distributes donated food and clothing to base chapels to help young Marines and sailors. The organization needs increased storage space and a truck to expand its operations and to be more accessible to the families its supports. For further information, contact Deborah L. Anderson at jay757@cox.net


  • "Operation Pillowcase," a $3,000 winner, was submitted by the Pioneer Valley USO at Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, Mass. It supports the 439th Airlift Wing, which has activated more than 1,300 reservists in support of Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom. For the children of these deployed service members, the USO takes a digitized photograph of the deployed parent and does a heat transfer onto a pillow case the child can sleep with at night. For further information, contact Sandra Wakefield at Sandra.wakefield@westover.af.mil


  • "TAPS Survivor Seminar Good Grief Camp - United We Heal Umbrella Project" won a $3,000 grant. Submitted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Washington, D.C., the project is a component of the annual Memorial Day Weekend Military Survivor Seminar for the children of service members who have died in service to their country. Children are given umbrellas and, under the direction of contemporary artist Matt Lamb, create expressions of their inner and outer emotions for their loss of a loved one. For further information, contact Jacqueline Garrick at Jackie@taps.org.

    Awards of $2,000 went to: 

    • "Maximizing Military Minor Minds," submitted by the Parent- Teacher Organization of Oak Hill Elementary at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., supports student learning with volunteers and mentors. The prize will buy and replace books and tapes. For further information, contact Patricia Chamberlain at msangelt@aol.com


    • "Food for Families," submitted by the Armed Services YMCA of Honolulu supports the military at Barbers Point and Wheeler Army Airfield on Oahu, in Hawaii. It is focused on junior enlisted members with families of four or more, and besides donating food, the organization assists with shopping, transportation, and nutrition. For further information, contact Vicki Baird at asymca@aol.com


    • "Family Readiness Support," submitted by the volunteers of Vueve Hall, U.S. Army Reserve Center, Fort Missoula, Mont., promotes self-reliance and helps families prepare for and cope with separation. For further information, contact Capt. Roger Mathis at roger.mathis@usarc-emh2.army.mil


    • "Operation Warm Heart," submitted by the First Sergeants' Association of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., provides base military and civilian personnel financial assistance and emotional support during times of need and transition. The focus is on families of deployed sponsors. For further information, contact Master Sgt. Michael Graham at Michael.Graham@beale.af.mil


    • "Army Family Team Building" and other programs, submitted by the Army Community Services Volunteer Association of Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, seek to improve every aspect of the military community with educational and other programs such as "TIPS," a translation service. For further information, contact Denise Winters at wintersw@compuserve.com


    • The "Missoula Children's Theater for the Students of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," submitted by the Healthcare Services Spouses Organization, would bring a team of two actor/directors to spend a week developing and producing a full-scale musical with a cast of 50 to 60 local children. For further information, contact Nicky Knighton at bkknighton@gtmo.med.navy.mil


    • The "Attic" and "Operation Warmheart," submitted by the Buckley Air Force Base Denver Area First Sergeants' Council, provides furnishings, toys, appliances, food and clothing through the "Attic" and short-term financial help and a safety net with "Operation Warmheart." For further information, contact Master Sgt. Harry Boucher at harry.boucher@buckley.af.mil


    • "Iron Kids: A Playroom on the Rock," submitted by the Baumholder Community Spouses' Club of the 222nd Base Support Battalion, Baumholder, Germany, seeks to improve quality of life for pre-kindergartners, who lack a suitable indoor play area. The group has been offered space and plans to use the grant to obtain equipment for it. For further information, contact Debbie Hull at hulls@t-online.de.
    (From a Fisher House Foundation news release.)
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    Click photo for screen-resolution imageKen Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation stands by a recently installed Pentagon display of charitable organizations that support service members and their families. One of the programs spotlighted is Fisher House, established by the late Zachary Fisher, Ken Fisher's uncle. The display is inside the Pentagon concourse ramp entrance leading to Floors 1 and 2. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.  
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    Click photo for screen-resolution imageJohn Molino (rear row from left), deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, and Tom Indoe, chief operations officer of the Newman's Own Co., and Ken Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation (front row, right) pose with winners of this year's Newman's Own Military Excellence Awards July 10, 2002, at the Pentagon. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.  
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    Click photo for screen-resolution imageNicky Knighton (center) receives a certificate and $2,000 award from John Molino, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, during the third annual Newman's Own Military Community Excellence Awards ceremony July 10, 2002, at the Pentagon, flanked by (from left) Ken Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation, and Tom Indoe, chief operations officer of Newman's Own Co. Knighton was recognized for a program that would produce a full-scale musical at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, featuring 50 to 60 local children. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.  
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