By Terri Moon Cronk
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff yesterday praised the Newman’s Own Foundation and nine military charities that shared a $2.5 million award from the foundation.
At the annual “Newman’s Own Awards” ceremony here, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the foundation's role as a funding stream in an era when caring for servicemembers and their families is critical allows military charities to focus on making a difference.
The sacrifices U.S. servicemembers have made to the nation constitute a debt that must be addressed and repaid, Mullen said.
"We as a country must recognize the debt these young people have created can never be repaid, and it ought to be our consideration as the first check we write, [to] do as much as we can to repay that debt," the chairman said.
"We in the military feel privileged to be the focus of his organization," Mullen said of late actor Paul Newman's foundation. Newman died in 2008.
Nine military service charities were selected for contributions from a $2.5 million award to continue their work supporting servicemembers and their families before, during and after deployment. The foundation made the awards to the Armed Services YMCA, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, the Fisher House Foundation, the National Military Family Association, Operation Homefront, Outward Bound for Veterans, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the USO and Warrior Gateway.
The charities honored last night and others like them provide the “life-sustaining requirements” of today’s servicemembers, Mullen said.
“Their lives have changed while their dreams have not," he said. But the path to reaching those goals has changed, he added, and the charities provide essential help.
"Enabling them -- because they have given so much -- is absolutely vital," he said.
Mullen cited a recent increase in battlefield injuries comparable to the rate of those in 2004 and 2005 and noted the spirit that makes wounded warriors worthy of the efforts on their behalf.
"There isn't one young soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who wouldn't get back in the fight,” he said. “[They knew] they were serving in something bigger than themselves."
Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation donated more than $300 million to thousands of charities around the world, according to its website, which also notes that Newman was "committed to helping make the world a better place."
The foundation donates all net royalties and profits after taxes it receives from the sale of Newman’s Own products to charities worldwide.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski