Honoring Commitment

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News December 2015

Paralyzed Veterans of America's Mission: ABLE Awards recognize the people, businesses and organizations that share a dedication to helping veterans with disabilities lead a full life.

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Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) continues to find a way to honor those individuals and businesses who, like the organization itself, are determined in making paralyzed veterans’ lives better.

That’s what the Mission: ABLE Awards do — showing appreciation to those committed to the cause. They honor those individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to creating an America where our nation’s disabled heroes can fully live the lives they deserve and access what they need most: health care, benefits and jobs.

The 2015 Mission: ABLE Awards at The Ritz Carlton on Oct. 6 in Washington, D.C., showed and honored those who’ve made some impressive achievements.

Paralyzed Veterans of America Deputy Executive Director Sherman Gillums Jr., right, thanks U.S. Army 1st Sgt. (ret.) and Paralympian CeCe Mazyck, left, for starring in a recently released UnstoppABLE video that was shown at the ceremony. Photo Event Digital Photography Inc.

PVA welcomed approximately 400 guests, including Washington dignitaries, distinguished service members, veterans, friends and supporters to honor its 2015 Mission: ABLE Award recipients:

Booz Allen Hamilton
Penske Truck Rental
ManTech International
Combat-injured Marine Corps veteran Capt. Derek Herrera
The Jeffrey Carlton Charitable Foundation
Eleanor Smith and Concrete Change


CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr kicked off the evening as Master of Ceremonies, and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald gave the evening’s keynote address.

“PVA  is a great advocate of veterans with spinal-cord injuries and diseases — and, by extension, when PVA helps advance research, education and the civil rights of people with disabilities—we are all their beneficiaries,” McDonald says.

The 2015 Mission: ABLE Awards category winners included:
Booz Allen Hamilton: Recipient of The Sustain: ABLE Award — for long-term dedication to supporting veterans through financial assistance, pro bono projects and volunteer hours. The award was accepted by Horacio D. Rozanski, President and Chief Executive Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Penske Truck Rental: Recipient of The Achieve: ABLE Award — for financial support of PVA’s mission to ensure that veterans with disabilities have access to health care, benefits and jobs. The award was accepted by Brian Hard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Penske Truck Leasing.

ManTech International: Recipient of The Employ: ABLE Award — for leadership to end unemployment in the disabled veterans community. Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Keefe, U.S. Army (ret.), President and Chief Operating Officer, ManTech Mission Solutions & Services accepted the award.

Capt. Derek Herrera, Marine Corps (ret.): Recipient of The Unstop: ABLE Award — for inspiration demonstrating how adaptive sports and new technologies can improve quality of life for veterans with disabilities. The award was accepted by Derek’s mother, Pamela.

The Jeffrey Carlton Charitable Foundation: Recipient of The Humanitarian Award — recognizing an outstanding contribution to help our disabled heroes live the lives their valor merits. Mike and Donna Buxton of The Jeffrey Carlton Charitable Foundation accepted the award.

The annual awards raised $614,000 from corporate supporters in advance of the event. These funds will help PVA’s programs and services, including benefits and employment assistance, and rehabilitative sports opportunities, all of which are provided free to veterans.

“We celebrate this year’s honorees and thank them and all of our supporters for their investment in and commitment to our mission,” says Al Kovach Jr., PVA national president. “Their active and continued partnership is critical to the continued success we have advocating on behalf of our nation’s veterans.”  


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