"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."

Henry Ellis

November 7, 2007

Microsoft Above and Beyond Award Winners

Very Cool...

Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with the United Service Organizations (USO), is proud to announce the winners of the Microsoft Above and Beyond Awards. The awards recognize the contributions of citizens across the country who brighten the lives of U.S. troops throughout the world.
"These winners are remarkable examples of how everyday people can do extraordinary things," said Curt Kolcun, Vice President of Microsoft Federal.
"Their actions showcase the best of American citizenship, selflessness, and support for our service members and their families - they are true testaments of how to salute our troops."
Chosen through a public online vote, the following winners will be honored for their service in these categories:

Effort Award: Patti Patton-Bader, Pasadena, Calif. Soon after Patton-Bader began sending care packages to her son in Iraq, she started a group of volunteers to "adopt" soldiers. Since then, the group's 100,000 members have sent tens of thousands of care packages and hundreds of thousands of letters to make sure no soldier is forgotten while serving. Its motto: "May no soldier go unloved."

Medical Attention Award: Walter Fricke, St. Louis Park, Minn. Fricke, a helicopter pilot wounded in the Vietnam War, knows firsthand that family can be the key to a soldier's recovery. One year ago, Walt founded The Veterans Airlift Command, not only volunteering his own aircraft and fuel, but creating a national network of over 500 volunteer aircraft owners and pilots who have joined in the effort to reunite wounded service members with families. The group has already flown over 180,000 miles to help bring wounded troops back together with their loved ones.

USO Promotion and Success Award: Paulette Nelson, Savannah, GA. Before her son's best friend's father was deployed to Iraq, Paulette didn't even know what deployment meant. But after noticing the tearful goodbyes, Paulette decided she wanted to help make a difference. Now she operates the Savannah airport's USO station, and from Hunter Army Airfield she makes sure every soldier gets a warm welcome, and a warm send off, even lending her cell phone so they can make that one last phone call home.

Everyday Difference Award: Todd Schmidt, Burke, Va. While on patrol in Afghanistan, Maj. Schmidt came up with an idea to provide school supplies for local kids. Thanks to him, donors and volunteers have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of textbooks, school supplies and secondhand clothes to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. Under Schmidt's leadership, Operation Dreamseed has even helped build a school outside Kandahar City by raising more than $80,000 for the cause.

Youth Leadership Award: Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, Norwell, Mass. Just 13 and 12 years old, these siblings heard about a soldier who had run up an $8,000 phone bill calling home. With two cousins deployed overseas, Brittany and Robbie know how important phone calls could be, so they committed themselves to helping soldiers call home. To date, they have raised nearly $1 million and donated over 450,000 phone cards, equaling 2.5 million minutes of talk time
After announcing the awards in mid-September, Microsoft and the USO received hundreds of nominations, narrowed down the list to finalists in each of the five categories, and facilitated a public online vote to choose the winners.
The awards will be presented on Veterans Day (observed), Nov. 12 at a ceremony in New York City's Rainbow Room.
"We knew we were on to something special when we first discussed with Microsoft how we could honor those who serve our troops," said Elaine Rogers, President, USO of Metropolitan Washington. "Now, seeing how these winners embody the principles of service and community should inspire each of us towards greater contribution."
Kolcun added, "All of our nominees, finalists, and many others out there who support our troops everyday should all be commended for their great work to support our services members and their families. We hope this handful of wonderful examples helps further everyone's efforts and inspires others to get involved."

More information:
Microsoft, in Partnership With the USO, Announces "Salute to Our Troops"
Microsoft and the USO Announce the Microsoft Above and Beyond Awards for Those Who Brighten Lives of Service Members and Their Families
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society and EPOP International Launch Above & Beyond
Above & Beyond, co-created by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and EPOP International is the first time all of the living Medal of Honor recipients have bonded together to create a national platform to promote "Service before Self." At the heart of the initiative is the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, which recognize and honor those ordinary Americans who become extraordinary through their selflessness.
Microsoft and the USO are pleased that our award winners will have the opportunity to enter their stories and be considered for the Above & Beyond Citizen Awards. To learn more about Above & Beyond, please follow this link: http://www.aboveandbeyond365.com/.


Gail Bergquist said...

Thank you so much for sharing the stories of the winners of the Microsoft Above and Beyond Award.
My children, Brittany and Robbie Bergquist who created Cell Phones for Soldiers~ www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, are so appreciative of this honor. The award serves to let others know about the needs of our troops and hopefully will continue to spread the word. You are already doing that by sharing the story!~ Thanks again!
Gail Bergquist
(Mom) Cell Phones for Soldiers
Norwell, Massachusetts

Shelly said...

You are very welcome. You have raised 2 incredible children. I was in awe of them. I went to the website and it's amazing...

Hey readers please check out the site and donate if possible.

Buck Pennington said...

And while you're checking out websites... Soldiers Angel's VALOUR-IT project is in danger of NOT meeting its goal this year. Donations...especially for Team Air Force... would be much appreciated. And they're NEEDED.

Sorry about the USAF plug on a Navy Mom's blog, Shelly! But you'll note I put in the link that allows anyone to donate to any of the four teams! ;-)

Lindsay said...

WOOT WOOT! I love it! I know, you know, I love this quote; but it's truly what the volunteer spirit is all about! Not to mention it seems so fitting here! :-) love it!

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” ~ Helen Keller