WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) welcomed approximately 435 esteemed guests at its 2016 Mission: ABLE Awards, including Governor Terry McAuliffe, Washington dignitaries, distinguished service members, veterans, friends and supporters of Paralyzed Veterans to honor its 2016 Mission: ABLE Award recipients.
Larry Michael, known as the "Voice of the Washington Redskins" served as Master of Ceremonies, and Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MC USN, Director of the Defense Health Agency gave the evening's keynote address.
"What Paralyzed Veterans of America does with advocacy and research is powerful for our healthcare system for those who wear the uniform," said Vice Admiral Bono, during her remarks.
The Mission: ABLE Awards honors those individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to creating an America where our nation's disabled heroes are able to fully live the lives they deserve and access what they need most: health care, benefits and jobs.
This year's awards raised $631,000 from corporate supporters in advance of the event. These funds will benefit Paralyzed Veterans' programs and services, including benefits and employment assistance, and rehabilitative sports opportunities, all of which are provided free to veterans.
Last year alone, Paralyzed Veterans secured more than $1 billion in VA benefits for the veterans and families it serves, and placed 407 veterans in jobs through its Operation PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment) program. PAVE provides comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services and job placement support using a holistic approach, with the mission of opening employment opportunities for any veteran, regardless of disability status. The organization also grew its adaptive sports and recreation programs to include hosting clinics across the country in wheelchair lacrosse, adaptive sailing and boccia.
"Paralyzed Veterans of America celebrates and thanks this year's honorees—partners we are proud to have in this mission of helping disabled veterans thrive after life-changing injuries," said Al Kovach, Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans. "One night a year we come together to honor a select few for their tireless work to support disabled veterans, but their impact lasts long after the evening is over. These individuals and corporations are truly making a difference in the lives of so many veterans, and for that they should be applauded."
A highlight of the evening, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe accepted the Employ: ABLE award for leadership to end veterans' unemployment through it's the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Values Veterans Program (V3). "I am honored to receive the Paralyzed Veterans of America Employ: ABLE award in recognition of the Virginia Values Veterans Program," said Governor McAuliffe. "We are committed to making Virginia the best state in the nation for veterans, which is why we set a goal to recruit, train and hire 20,000 veterans by the end of our term. I am proud to say we are fewer than 2,000 veterans from our goal. I thank you for partnering with V3 through Paralyzed Veterans' Paving Access for Veterans Employment program to help us reach this goal, and I hope we can continue to build on our success by placing 20,000 more veterans in permanent careers."
Additional esteemed honorees included Roger Penske, Chairman of the Penske Corporation, celebrating 50 years in motor sports and fresh from Penske's Indy500 win.
Complete list of honorees for the 2016 Mission: ABLE Awards:
- K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. (Food City): Recipient of The Achieve: ABLE Award—for support of Care, Benefits and Jobs.
- Award accepted by Steven Smith , President and CEO, Food City
- The Commonwealth of Virginia & Virginia Values Veterans Program (V3): Recipient of The Employ: ABLE Award—for leadership to end veterans' unemployment.
- Award accepted by the Honorable Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia
- Microsoft Software & Systems Academy: Recipient of The Unstop: ABLE Award—for helping active duty U.S. service members develop career skills in the field of technology.
- Award accepted by Major General Chris Cortez, Vice President of Military Affairs, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy
- Roger Penske: Recipient of The Humanitarian Award—recognizing outstanding contributions to help support disabled veterans.
- Award accepted Roger Penske, Chairman, Penske Corporation
Special thanks and recognition was given throughout the night to Presenting Sponsors: Leidos and Leidos Health and its subsidiaries, QTC and Systems Made Simple; Gold Sponsors—Microsoft, Technatomy and USAA; and all of the sponsors who helped make the evening possible with their continued support of Paralyzed Veterans' mission.
Also recognized were the Mission: ABLE Corporate Leadership Committee, who played a pivotal role in planning the event and raising funds to support Paralyzed Veterans' mission through the Awards—Horace Blackman, Committee Chairman, and Sr. Vice President of Health, Leidos,; Nadeem Butler, Committee Co-Chair, and President and CEO, Technatomy; Lucy Donahue, Committee Co-Chair, and Sr. Vice President, Federal Healthcare By Light Professional IT Services, Inc.; and Chip Meyers, Committee Chairman Emeritus, and Vice President, Corporate Public Affairs, UPS.
To obtain photos from the event visit: https://www.flickr.com/paralyzedveterans, Paralyzed Veterans' Facebook page at facebook.com/paralyzedveterans, or Twitter @pva1946, #MissionABLEAwards.
To learn more about the Mission: ABLE Awards: www.pva.org/awards.
To learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America and its free programs and services for veterans please visit pva.org.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America