For Immediate Distribution
Public Service Patriots Honored for Supporting Military Families
ALEXANDRIA, VA September 10, 2008 — The National Military Family Association (NMFA) was pleased to honor the recipients of the 2008 NMFA Support of Military Families Award at a Capitol Hill reception. These awards are presented to outstanding policy makers and public servants who have shown exceptional support of military families. This year’s recipients were: The Honorable Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense; Ms. Leslye Arsht, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy; Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO, 4th), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA, 4th); and Ms. Debra Wada, professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“Despite your wonderful words of tribute which I deeply appreciate, we all know that no great recognition is won alone. That is certainly true in this case,” said Ms. Arsht upon receiving her award. “NMFA’s voice is heard at the highest levels in the Department of Defense. You are heard on both sides of the aisle in Congress. I have great admiration for your collective passions and that you never forget that families also serve. It has been a privilege to work with you.”
The recipients of this award have made a tremendous impact on the lives of military families. Secretary Gates has shown his support of military families in several ways, including urging President Bush to support legislation to create the transferability of education benefits. Ms. Arsht is especially applauded by NMFA for her leadership in the Department’s outreach to other agencies and states to promote creative partnerships addressing important quality-of-life concerns. Always a champion for military families, Representative Skelton pushed for strong installation support services, adequate base operations funding, and robust family readiness programs. Deployments have been made easier on military families thanks to Representative Altmire’s sponsorship of legislation that made changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act for the first time in 15 years. Ms. Wada has displayed her knowledge about issues such as compensation, resale activities, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, relocation, and health care. She has worked constantly to seek out and understand the perspective of service members and families.
“We are honored to recognize five individuals, who through their work and the work of their organizations have improved the quality of life for families of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Public Health Service,” said Nancy Alsheimer, NMFA Chairman of the Board of Governors.