The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonpartisan organization that provides programs and services to severely injured service members, commissioned Bennett Awards to create a custom award design for a new recognition awards program they have recently introduced called the Carry Forward Awards™. The Carry Forward Awards, an innovative outreach campaign and award event, recognize passionate individuals who go above and beyond in their support for our nation’s wounded veterans in their communities, and embody the mission of WWP: to honor and empower wounded warriors.
This grassroots award program solicits nominations of passionate supporters, volunteers, service members and their families who have served this generation of wounded through WWP. Finalists are selected, and then their stories are featured on the Carry Forward Awards website. The public then votes for their favorite nominee story, and the winners are honored at a fundraising event and awards ceremony.
This year, 2012, was the inaugural presentation of the Carry Forward Awards. For these achievement awards, WWP chose Bennett Awards, who has worked with WWP on other award projects, to create a new custom award design embodying the meaning behind this recognition program. Bennett Awards worked collaborative with WWP to create a stunning, creative design. The design features a pewter hand-sculpted backpack sculpture mounted atop a black block marble base. The backpack is representative of one of WWP’s key programs. WWP provides wounded service members with backpacks when they arrive at military trauma units across the United States. The WWP backpacks are filled with essential care and comfort items such as clothing, toiletries, playing cards, and more. Injured warriors overseas who are evacuated from field hospitals to larger military treatment facilities stateside or abroad receive a smaller version of the WWP backpack, know as Transitional Care Packs, for immediate comfort.
The backpack sculptures are mounted on a black block marble base, the design of which is inspired by the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. Each side of the base features customized engravings meaningful to the Carry Forward Awards program. The front of the base is engraved with the Carry Forward Awards logo, recipient name, and year of presentation. These engravings are filled with silver paint. The back of the base also features silver-fill engravings, but these engravings are of the WWP logo and credo statement: “Patriotism. Passion. Pride. I carry forward the mission to honor and empower wounded warriors.” Each side of the base features word-art engravings arranged in a block of the WWP core values, including Honor, Duty, Commitment, Service, Country, Integrity, and Courage. A close-up view of these unique custom awards can be seen by clicking the following link: "Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward Awards".
The inaugural Carry Forward Awards presentation was held October 21, 2012 in Anaheim, California. Five outstanding, deserving individuals were recognized:
- Rick Allen (pictured above): After losing his arm in an car crash and developing PTSD, the Def Leppard musician became an advocate and mentor for wounded veterans and WWP.
- Chris Campbell: This Navy Seal was recognized posthumously for his final wish that others give to support services for his fellow warriors.
- Ric O’Brien: This Vietnam veteran started a motorcycle rally fundraiser for wounded warriors that soon spread to many events across the country.
- Shaun Toy: This high school student founded a series of tournaments that have raised more than $37,000 for wounded warriors.
- Ken Collom: After his son incurred a traumatic brain injury and developed PTSD in Iraq, he made significant personal contributions and enlisted the support of his friends in this effort.
Samantha Harris, best known for her 8-year stint as co-host of “Dancing with the Stars”, and Dean Cain, who played Superman/Clark Kent on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”, co-hosted this achievement awards ceremony. More information on this event, and the entire Carry Forward Awards program, can be found at: "Wounded Warrior Carry Forward Awards".
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. T o get involved and learn more, visit "Wounded Warrior Project".