WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2016 —
Five service organizations that provide unique opportunities for military personnel, their families and veterans received more than $200,000 in awards during the Newman’s Own Awards ceremony at the Pentagon this afternoon.
Military personnel and their families do what they do, “because they know that you have their 6,” Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said at the ceremony in the Hall of Heroes.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that the five groups show they’re behind service members, veterans and their families by providing mental health care, retraining wounded warriors for cyberspace jobs, providing jobs for military spouses, providing equipment to wounded warriors and using peer-to-peer counseling for veterans and their families.
Assisting Troops, Families
Newman’s Own is the company founded by actor Paul Newman in 1982 with the idea of giving away 100 percent of after-tax profits to worthy charities. In 1999, the company partnered with the Fisher House Foundation and the Military Times publications to recognize innovative organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for service members.
This year’s Newman’s Own winners were culled from more than 300 submissions. They are:
-- Give an Hour, which provides mental health counseling to service members, their families and veterans. The group has harnessed the expertise of more than 7,000 licensed mental health professionals to provide more than 200,000 hours of care and support to those in need.
-- The Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy, which provides wounded warriors with retraining to learn the technical skills needed for jobs to protect and defend the nation’s information systems.
-- Dryhootch Peer Support Program, which provides peer-to-peer counseling for veterans and their families.
-- Military Spouse JD Network Foundation, which supports military spouses in the legal profession as they move from place to place. The foundation looks to licensing requirements and building a network for spouses.
-- Project MEND, which provides equipment for those living with disabilities and illnesses through the reuse and distribution of medical equipment.
These groups, and many more like them, provide the “intangibles” that allow service members and their families to do what they do, Dunford said.
“It’s things like trust,” the chairman said. “It’s things like commitment. It’s things like the support that is provided to them. It’s things like the confidence that their families will be provided for.”
Supporting Nation’s Military
All this adds up to a nation’s support for its military personnel. It is why, after 15 years of war, that the American military is still able to attract and retain the highest-caliber people possible, Dunford said.
“Every aspect of military life is touched by this year’s award recipients,” he told the Newman’s Own Award recipients. “You are contributing to the spirit, effectiveness and morale of the force in ways you can’t possibly know. Take my word for it. It’s true.”
With this year’s awards, Newman’s Own has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to organizations serving service members, their families and veterans.
Paul Newman served during World War II as a crewman aboard Avenger dive bombers. Jeff Smith, the vice president of Newman’s Own, said the Oscar-winning actor always wanted to recognize the factor that luck played in his life. He said Newman’s plane was one of a squadron that was ordered to the USS Bunker Hill that participated in the battle for Okinawa. The pilot of Newman’s plane got sick and they didn’t make the trip.
The Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikaze aircraft and suffered 300 dead, including all the men in the squadron the actor would have been with.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)