Courage on the Battlefield and Home Front: Halfaker presents WWP George C. Lang Award to Ted and Sarah Wade
New York, NY – According to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), over 45,000 members of our nation’s armed forces have been physically wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Studies estimate that more than 300,000 will suffer the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. On May 31, 2012 the WWP, a non-profit organization that aims to honor and empower wounded warriors, hosted its seventh annual Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and hoped to raise over $1 million to help support thousands of warriors from the battlefield to bedside, and beyond.
At this year’s event, Dawn Halfaker, CEO of Halfaker and Associates, and president of the WWP Board of Directors had the privilege to present the George C. Lang Award for Courage, which was founded in memory of George C. Lang, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Vietnam Veteran and friend of WWP.
The WWP presents this award annually to an individual who best exemplifies the spirit and virtue of George C. Lang, who was a humble, yet unyielding behind-the-scenes advocate for all veterans—especially those with disabilities. George took time to visit wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, hoping these young men and women would draw strength from his experiences in adjusting to and living with a combat-related disability. George epitomized what it meant to be a wounded warrior, broken in body but not in spirit, soldiering on in support of his fellow service members. During the award presentation to Ted and Sarah Wade, Dawn noted, “As we have seen from George and all our Warriors who are here tonight, courage can take on many forms. Courage on the battlefield comes to mind. As does courage on the home front—fighting for what is right. The recipients of the 2012 George C. Lang Award for Courage embody both. Congratulations, Ted and Sarah Wade for your courage and for demonstrating what the Wounded Warrior Project is all about.”
Ted and Sarah Wade, a couple who would not let the Traumatic Brain Injury that Ted suffered in Iraq in 2004 slow them down, have worked and continue to work relentlessly to lobby congress to create a comprehensive system of support for wounded warriors and their caregivers everywhere. They successfully lobbied for the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act: legislation that provides counseling, health-care training, respite care for up to 30 days a year, and a monthly stipend determined on a case-by-case basis for those caring for the most severely wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This legislations supports family members, like Sarah, who have made great personal sacrifices to provide daily care to their injured loved ones, often giving up careers and putting their own lives on hold to be long-term, full-time caregivers. Testifying before Congress, Sarah said of her husband, “Just like he needed a team in the military to accomplish the mission, he needs a team at home in the longer war.”
Following the bill’s signing in March 2010, Ted and Sarah continue to advocate on behalf of wounded warrior’s nationwide to ensure this law is implemented by the VA swiftly and to the full extent intended by congress.
The funds raised at the Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner provide much-needed support for mental health programs such as WWP’s Combat Stress Recovery Program (CSRP), which responds to the mental health needs of our warriors at various stages of the re-adjustment process. Donations raised will also fund WWP adaptive sports, benefits counseling, education and employment services, and many other programs. Halfaker is proud to be able to support this vital organization that plays an integral role in many wounded warriors’ journey.
When President Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act into legislation in March 2010, he articulated America’s obligation to support our troops, and the reasoning behind why companies like Halfaker and organziations like the WWP work to support our nation’s wounded warriors, “Since the 9/11 attacks more than eight years ago, the United States has been a nation at war. In this time, millions of Americans have worn the uniform. More than a million have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many have risked their lives. Many have given their lives. All are the very embodiment of service and patriotism. And as a grateful nation, humbled by their service, we can never honor these American heroes or their families enough. Along with their loved ones, we give thanks every time our men and women in uniform return home. But we’re forever mindful that our obligations to our troops don’t end on the battlefield. Just as we have a responsibility to train and equip them when we send them into harm’s way, we have a responsibility to take care of them when they come home.” http://1.usa.gov/MtowCQ