By U.S. ArmyOctober 31, 2014
Good evening. It is great to be here tonight with so many people here from all over the country who have stopped by and all of our distinguished guests, our Assistant Secretaries, General Officers, Sergeants Major, and Soldiers. I am very proud to be out here tonight with so many great people. I would like to begin by recognizing the Soldiers standing on the field tonight who represent the high standards and discipline inherent in our Army. And as previously stated, we are fortunate to have with us "Pershing's Own" -- the United States Army Band, and the Soldiers of the Old Guard, including the Fife and Drum Corps, and the US Army Drill Team. I would also like to take a brief moment to welcome our distinguished guests. We have with us General (R) Gordon R. Sullivan, the 32nd Chief of Staff of the Army, Sir it is great to have you here.
I truly enjoy hosting this event here overlooking our Nation's Capital. This evening, we have a chance to look back on the Army and on our Nation's history. From here, you can look across our Nation's Capital at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. These unmistakable symbols attest to our Nation's enduring strength, reverence, liberty and freedoms -- earned by a few but enjoyed by many.
As an Army and as a Nation, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, those who sacrificed so that we might stand here tonight. It is fitting that in the same view of our Nation's Capital that just to our right we see an even greater symbol of sacrifice, Arlington Cemetery. For all of us, those sacred grounds are a timeless reminder of the costs and sacrifices that so many have given for this great country. In bringing the meaning to these sacrifices, I know that there are many ways to serve and many ways to give back. And tonight, I have the honor of recognizing five exceptional men and women who have demonstrated this in their unwavering commitment to those who serve - Tom Donohue, Suni Harford, Harvey Naranjo, Tom Werner, and Bob Woodruff.
Our first awardee this evening is Tom Donohue. Tom is a committed and innovative supporter of the Armed Forces who is profoundly dedicated to the welfare of service members, Veterans, and their Families. As President and Chief Executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom launched the Hiring Our Heroes program in March 2011 to connect our veterans and military spouses to needed jobs.
Knowing the power of having a clear set of goals built around commitment, values, and a common vision, Tom led an unprecedented effort under the "Hiring 500,000 Heroes" campaign to achieve what some thought impossible for a single organization. Tom made this feat a reality. His efforts led to an unparalleled movement across industry and businesses throughout the country to commit to hiring half a million veterans and military spouses. This is simply amazing. To date, more than 1,800 businesses have pledged to hire over 475,000 veterans and spouses, and as of March of this year, more than 290,000 have already started their new jobs. [Applause]
Tom and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to serve those who nobly serve our Nation. Tom, thank you very much, and thank you to the 1,800 businesses that came together under this noble cause. [Applause]
Our next awardee is Suni Harford. From a very young age, Suni had a deep desire to serve others and give back to her community and our society as a whole. She has repeatedly throughout her life demonstrated a sharing spirit. Suni has become one of the Top 25 Women in Business but she never forgot the importance of giving back.
As the Regional Head of Markets for Citi North America, Suni has been the driving force behind "Citi Salutes," a one-stop resource for information on career opportunities, money management tools, partnerships with veteran service organizations, and banking products and services tailored to the military and veteran community.
Suni has also been instrumental in creating Veterans on Wall Street, a highly acclaimed coalition of banks committed to both developing careers for Veterans and Family members, and driving charitable giving in support of veteran service organizations from the financial sector. From helping Soldiers meet their financial needs while still serving to finding employment in the finance industry after their service has concluded, Suni's efforts has and will have a lasting impact on our Veterans, Soldiers, Families and the United States Army. Suni, for all that you have done, the Army salutes you.
Tonight, we also recognize the incredible dedication and service of Harvey Naranjo in supporting our Wounded Warriors and Veterans as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at the Military Advanced Training Center. Harvey has committed his personal and professional life to serving our severely injured service members returning from war. His passion began in 2001 after 9/11 when he enlisted as a combat medic and occupational therapist. Harvey saw firsthand the exacting toll placed on those wounded in combat. After completing his service obligation, Harvey focused his talent on helping the most severely wounded service members rehabilitate.
Since that time Harvey has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Adaptive Sports and Community Reintegration programs in rehabilitation for severally injured service members returning from war.
These programs have allowed medical staff at Walter Reed to harness their patient's warrior and competitive spirit allowing them to maximize their rehabilitation and independence post injury.
Today, the utilization of Adaptive Sports and Recreation in military rehabilitation is now the model for treating combat wounded service members in all military hospitals not only in the United States, but in England, where Harvey has also provided consult.
The success of the Adaptive Sports programs also led to the development of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences' Wounded Warrior partnership as an elective for 2nd year military medical students. Harvey's efforts have already had a lasting impact on the care that we provide our Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and Families throughout the United States Army.
If you ask any of our Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed, they know who Harvey Naranjo is. They are quick to tell you the impact that he has had on their recovery, both physically and mentally, and the personal impact he has had on every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine who has ever step foot in Walter Reed.
Harvey, I extend to you my deepest appreciation for your commitment to bring hope and inspiration to our Wounded Warriors on their road to recovery. For all of your service, the Army salutes you. Thank you very much. [Applause]
Tonight, we also recognize Tom Werner, Chairman of the Boston Red Sox, for all that he has done to help our Veterans. In 2008, Tom was inspired during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center to reach out and help Veterans and Families experiencing the traumatic effects of war. He realized the long-term need for post-traumatic care of those who have served in war based on his personal experiences during his visit that day.
Upon returning to Boston, Tom and the Red Sox began vital work in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development & Engineering Center. Together, they spearheaded an effort to bring much needed post-traumatic stress care to Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their Families through the Home Base Program.
Today, the program provides world class treatment that is enabling over 1,000 Veterans and their Families to recover, heal, and return to productive, fulfilling lives; research labs and hospitals are offering cutting edge research to create new therapies; and the program has trained over 10,000 doctors across the country to recognize and treat the invisible wounds of war.
Because of Tom's efforts, Home Base has become an enduring lifeline to this generation of Veterans and Families. Since 2008, Tom and the Red Sox have sponsored fundraising events and Tom has personally raised or donated $16.2 million of the $22 million collected in this effort.
Tom, your leadership and the efforts of all of the volunteers and supporters of the Home Base Program are making a difference in the lives of those who have sacrificed so much. And from this lifelong Yankee fan, it is my distinct honor to present you this award. Thank you for all you have done to support our Soldiers and their families. [Laughter and Applause]
Last, but by no means least, we recognize Bob Woodruff. Bob is no stranger to the Army. He epitomizes the best of our Nation's professional journalist corps. And over the last thirteen years of war, he has exemplified the special relationship formed between our Army and the press corps who have embedded alongside our Soldiers in conflict. Few know the trials of war without having experienced them firsthand. None know this better than Bob Woodruff, who was inspired by his own experiences. After sustaining serious injuries while reporting on our Soldiers in Iraq, he dedicated himself to ensure that injured Veterans and their Families thrive long, long after coming home.
Having experienced long recovery challenges side by side with our Soldiers, Bob was motivated alongside his wife, Lee, to establish the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Their foundation has helped to find, fund, and shape more than one hundred innovative programs in three key areas: Education and Employment; Rehabilitation and Recovery; and Quality of Life. Bob's commitment has brought hope and healing to more than two million Soldiers and Family members. These efforts have resulted in lasting impacts on the quality of life and resiliency of all our injured Veterans, their Families, and the United States Army. For this and all that you have done and continue to do for our Nation, we thank you, and our Army salutes you. [Applause]
Tonight, we have honored five incredible men and women who exemplify the phrase selfless service. Their steadfast commitment to all Servicemembers has been unwavering. They reach out for the simple, yet profound reason that they love their country and have a deep respect for those who raise their right hand and swear to defend this great Nation. And they also care about the families who support them and stand beside them every day.
Tom Donohue, Suni Harford, Harvey Naranjo, Tom Werner, and Bob Woodruff, you are shining examples of the human spirit that defines America. We are indebted to each and every one of you, and tonight, we are proud to salute you.
The strength of our Nation is our Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our Families; and that is what makes us Army Strong! Thank you very much. God Bless you.