Great Comebacks® Program Announces 2011 Tony Snow Public Service Award Recipient

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Justin F. Blum, of South Carolina, Honored for Comeback from Ostomy Surgery

Mar 07, 2011, 09:00 ET from Great Comebacks

SKILLMAN, N.J., March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Great Comebacks® Program announced today that Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Justin F. Blum, of Florence, S.C., has been named this year's recipient of the Tony Snow Public Service Award.  Blum, now a Senior Army Instructor with the Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Program, is being recognized for his service to his country and his community.  

Now in its 26th year, the Great Comebacks® Program recognizes the inspirational achievements of people who have overcome serious intestinal diseases, colorectal cancer and other conditions that can lead to ostomy surgery. The Tony Snow Public Service Award, named in memory of the former White House advisor and news broadcaster who was an Honorary Great Comebacks® Award recipient in 2006, was created two years ago to honor individuals who are passionate about serving their country while dealing courageously with intestinal disease and ostomy surgery.

The program is sponsored by ConvaTec, a world-leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies for community and hospital care, in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCFA), the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA), the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS), the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society, and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).

"Justin's story, and those of many other Great Comebacks® recipients, provide support and encouragement to millions of people who are affected by these serious diseases or facing ostomy surgery," said Rolf Benirschke, former San Diego Chargers place-kicker, ulcerative colitis patient and chairman of the Great Comebacks® Program. "By openly sharing our experiences, our goal is to change the misperceptions that continue to persist about these diseases and about life with an ostomy."

"ConvaTec is proud to continue our 30-year heritage of supporting advocacy, awareness and education for people with an ostomy," said Brad Barton, President of ConvaTec USA.  "With the help and support of thousands of specialist nurses and surgeons, we hope to make many more Great Comebacks® like Justin's possible."

More information about all of this year's Great Comebacks® recipients is available at

Justin Blum, Tony Snow Public Service Award Recipient

The words "I can't" are just not part of Justin Blum's vocabulary. When Justin, now retired from the Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, received a permanent ostomy following a 21-year battle with ulcerative colitis and a diagnosis of early stage colon cancer, there was no doubt in his mind that he would be able to return to a full and meaningful life.

Though no longer on active duty, Justin has been in uniform for more than 40 years, serving the past 15 years as the Senior Army Instructor of the Marlboro County High School Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Program in Bennettsville, SC.  He applies boundless energy to helping teens and at-risk youth through programs focused on character development, pregnancy prevention and staying in school, while also being active across a wide variety of issues such as homeland security, domestic violence and cancer awareness.

For his continued service to others, Justin has been recognized with many awards including: the Commander's Award for Public Service from the 4th Brigade, United States Army Cadet Command (2011), the South Carolina State Board of Education Volunteer Award (2010), and the National Army JROTC Instructor of the Year Award (2003).

"I have never given up on anything," says Justin. "The best advice I have given to those I work with is that they are in a position to accomplish anything. They can set an example for all to emulate by making a difference in the lives of others who do not yet share their drive."

Justin, 58, lives in Florence, SC with his wife and three children. On top of his two Master's degrees in Public Administration and Counseling (with a third underway), he hopes to one day earn a doctorate of philosophy in counseling or leadership so he can formally work with the Veterans Administration as a mental health counselor.

About the Great Comebacks® Program

Now in its third decade, the Great Comebacks® Program raises awareness of quality of life issues for people with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer and other diseases that can lead to ostomy surgery. The mission of Great Comebacks® is to provide information and inspiration to people facing the emotional, as well as physical, challenges of living with serious intestinal diseases and ostomy surgery.  The program also aims to remove the stigma surrounding ostomy surgery and to educate patients, their families and friends, and the general public that ostomy surgery can be a second chance to fulfill dreams, and lead a full and productive life with joy and passion. For more information, please visit

About ConvaTec

ConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.  With four key focus areas – Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence and Critical Care, and Infusion Devices – ConvaTec products support health care professionals from the hospital to the community health setting. For more information, please visit

Great Comebacks is a registered trademark of ConvaTec Inc.

© 2011 ConvaTec Inc.

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